Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Not Telling the Whole Truth on Paid Leave

Roughly a year ago, I noticed the whining over no paid leave for family medical reasons with the strong focus on maternity leave. As I wrote, the media is skipping over the fact that several states have state mandated disability leave programs that pay for maternity and other disabilities that are off the job (not worker's comp). The media is at it again with a weepy article in The New Republic. This is all about maternity leave and helping working moms out. Something needs to be done for working moms! Working moms are trampled upon! No one gets any benefit unless they fight! The government needs to do something! Media bias is wonderful when you consider they can lie simply by omission.

What quantifies as paid time off for maternity? How is it defined by this reporter? Many women work in professions where a long term paternalistic view of the employees allowed for massive sick day accumulation to anticipate births. Your tax dollars pay for those employee benefits for all of those school teachers racking up the sick days. That is not a formal maternity leave program, but it is 100% of pay for as many days as one accrues. Some schools allow teachers to use half pay and extend the time they are out. Hospitals are in a similar position. Because of the prohibitive cost of these programs, many of them are moving to short term disability insurance whether employer or employee paid. Sick leave still exists even if it has been cut back dramatically through the years (hurts men, too).

This is the biggest statement in the article that confuses me, "Eighty-eight percent of American women do not get paid for a single day or single hour after they give birth". Something feels super phony about this. Is the number taking into account stay at home moms and the unemployed? it is a shock number meant to generate feelings of "that's unfair". Where's the proof? First, there is the sick time structure at many firms. They at least have a few days if they do not have the rich school programs. There also is the private insurance short term disability market that treats a pregnancy and delivery like a normal illness, paying between 6-8 weeks (depending on natural of Cesarean delivery). This market is rather mature, and whether through a group policy from companies like Hartford or MET Life or an individual policy like AFLAC, this market has reached half of all employers. Last I knew, group insurance had over a 33% market penetration figure. Many of the employers that do not have them already have a rich in-house program that pays for maternity leave. Angie's List has an private insurance program and has over 1200 employees. Other giant employers have in-house programs that are even richer than Angie's List's program, and I would state that firms over 500 lives have in-house programs more often than private insurance. Those 500+ employee firms employ half of American workers. Where is the proof that 88% of women never receive any paid leave after delivering a baby? Where is that number from? Is this a twist of the reality where because the employee gets paid by an insurance company, the media can say it is not paid leave, but a use of a private service?

Sorry small firm employees
Now we all hear about the US gender pay gap, but we also know that it is a bit of trickery with how that number is calculated. Even with luxurious maternity (and even paternity) leaves for working parents, Europe still has many nations with gender pay gaps around 20%. If European socialism in its debt death rattle is not enough to close the gap, the gap just might be there for good. What do you think the euros are going to cut back when they have to pay the debt piper? Maybe the Chinese will let them keep it since it will make Europe less competitive. Is that gap also calculated with the same prog trickery? I do not know, but I am a cautious media skeptic. Whatever reality, the gap still exists so after watching decades of European socialism fail to close the gap, why would the American media call for a dose of it here?

Europe's gender pay gap

This is coming. Obama already used an executive order to set some of the federal employees up for it. Look who added paid leave to her agenda. This is just the bloat of the government bureaucracy and a new program to employ more of the leftist coalition in safe government jobs. A federal program will run as profitable as the state government mandated programs do, which is not at all. The government will wiggle its way into a new sphere of the employee-employer relationship. Here is one thing these progs never consider, and those dear, oppressed moms may be adversely affected. Small firms will more and more slide to employee people as 1099 contract workers to get around the rules. Many small employers will go this route and create a new, weirder relationship with their employees just to avoid the burden of government regulation. By why even bring that up? Look at the essay by Reecca Traister (editor) and the multiple "project manager", "communications director", etc. working in the big cities used in the essay. This is not to help all women, but to help those Lean In ladies self-actualize. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On the flip side, I suspect the added costs of Obamacare are forcing companies to drop their maternity leave package.

about a year and a half ago my wife's company went from full pay maternity leave of 4 months to the State's mandatory (I believe) disability coverage, of 80% of salary for 90 days.