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Liberalterian
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How to argue about paid maternity leave?
Feb 22nd, 2013 at 3:56pm
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Hey I just had a discussion with a liberal who really believes in paid family leave. Basically like maternity leave just that both parents get it. I responded that having children is a personal decision and that you ought to save for yourself if you wish to have kids.

She responded that this is the only way that a woman can have a career and a family.

I responded that a lot of companies would have to raise their prices and ship more jobs overseas to pay for the costs. So this would mean that, instead of not having a job for a few months, you could be out of a job for years because of the increased unemployment rate. I also went on to say that small businesses would be most adversely effected by such a regulation. Mostly because they have a lot less money to spend as it is and could already barely be making profits. As opposed to big businesses who already have a lot of business costs, for them such a mandate would be a drop in the bucket for their bottom line.

What does that mean? Well it would mean that we would make it even harder for small businesses to succeed and prosper. Meaning that we would see an even greater rise in big business and more small businesses failing and going out of business.


She has yet to respond to these arguments and I am beginning to doubt if she even will respond. BUT I am wondering, how would you personally go about discussing this issue with people who support mandatory paid maternity leave? Did I adress it well? Should I focus on something else? Leave out anything I had talked about?

Basically I want to not tell people what to believe but rather try to get them thinking about the topic in more detail. Rather than just saying "this is a good idea" I want them to really think about it and consider the costs vs. the benefits of the (seemingly) good idea.
  
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Re: How to argue about paid maternity leave?
Reply #1 - Feb 22nd, 2013 at 4:34pm
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Interesting topic. I also agree with you that mandatory paid leave is a bad thing. My wife is about to go on maternity leave but she has to use her PTO in order to get paid for any days she's out. While her not having is a moot point and while I would love for my wife to take off for 6 months to a year and get her full salary, I just don't see how it's beneficial to the greater good. Us, absolutely a good, to everyone else, not so much.

I debated someone who claims to be 'Independent' but believes there should be some sort of 'safety net'. How this can be, I'm not completely sure, but that's a whole different story. Back to the point, I told him that I disagree with that because in order to cover this, you will need to have everyone on board with this. Since I don't want the safety net, I shouldn't have to pay for it. His argument was he feel under hard times when he was laid off by IBM. He couldn't find a job for 2 - 3 months and the extra money he got was helpful. I said, if that's the case, then I would say to privatize it and make it where the money you put into the system will be just for you. If I don't want a safety net, don't force me into it as I don't want to be apart of it.

As it directly relates to you, what I would say to her is if she feels like mandatory maternity leave should be available, I would say that she should suggest more about having some sort of company plan that she can pay into. Some sort of 'maternity' fund that she can pay into and can use when she goes out on leave. Her come back will probably be that it would take years to accumulate enough money to do that. My counter to that would be that's why having children should be planned out. My wife and I plotted out our expenses and figured out how we could live off of just my income, paying all of the expenses, while she is off on maternity leave.

The problem really boils down to the individual person. Most people who want stuff like this, don't want to help themselves or believe someone should help them if they need it. Which, in my eyes, ultimately boils down to if you put the responsibility in the individual hands, they will make better decisions. With folks knowing there is a safety net underneath of them, they'll be more inclined to do acrobaticsthan if there was no safety net at all.
  
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Crystallas
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Re: How to argue about paid maternity leave?
Reply #2 - Feb 22nd, 2013 at 11:30pm
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In a free market, and even now, you can buy maternity insurance.

It would be in the best interest of the business to organize health programs that offer such a package. By using the business as a front, you have a group discount which benefits multiple parties.

A "mandatory" anything, is intrusive(in so many ways, some of which you had already outlined). This problem is, and has been solved best, voluntarily. If anything, any planning or potential parent, man or woman, should convince their employers to provide added options, as it is both an incentive to the employee, and an incentive to the service provider to offer the best packages available.
  
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Re: How to argue about paid maternity leave?
Reply #3 - Feb 23rd, 2013 at 9:06am
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Remember what a big deal it was when Clinton passed the Family Medical Leave Act?  Hollywood even put out a TV movie promoting it.  No doubt that law has hurt many small businesses. 

The government really should just keep its nose out of the private sector's business.
  
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Re: How to argue about paid maternity leave?
Reply #4 - Feb 23rd, 2013 at 12:42pm
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My wife and I now have two boys and she has used FMLA for more than just maternity leave.  For our oldest son, her employer at the time did not offer full paid maternity leave (at least not for the 12 weeks she wanted to take).  Luckily she had saved up enough PTO to prevent any loss of income.  For our second son, her new employer offered 4 weeks full pay, 4 weeks at 60%.  Since she wanted to take 12 weeks again we had to do without for the last month. 

FMLA does not guaranteed paid leave, it prevents an employer from terminating you when you go on leave for someone other than yourself.  There are also state laws that come into effect, but that's the gist of it.

Personally, if an employer doesn't want to offer it, I don't think they should be forced too.  It's not their fault that you decide to have children, so why should they be forced to agree to your terms.
  

Keauxbi
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Re: How to argue about paid maternity leave?
Reply #5 - Feb 23rd, 2013 at 8:38pm
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RubyHypatia wrote on Feb 23rd, 2013 at 9:06am:
Remember what a big deal it was when Clinton passed the Family Medical Leave Act? Hollywood even put out a TV movie promoting it. No doubt that law has hurt many small businesses.

The government really should just keep its nose out of the private sector's business.


A small business with less than 50 employees isn't really concerned with FMLA - other than keeping their staff under 50 strong (factoring distance you can have more, but it is complicated). The real harm with FMLA is that businesses won't hire more than 50 people if they can help it. Employers will supplement temp staff before they go over the 50 employee mark. The record keeping, the administrative costs and the benefit contributions are a huge deterrent for a business that has near 50 employees, but is unwilling to add more because of the added BS they must deal with. FMLA doesn't lower the unemployment rate, that's for sure.

As far as mandatory maternity leave, small business would have difficulty paying, say 75% of regular wages to an employee who is absent for several weeks to several months, especially if they need to contract with a staffing agency to take care of the responsibilities of an employee on leave. So the main argument is that women won't be able to pursue a career without maternity leave? I would argue the opposite, to a degree - some hiring managers, especially at small companies would rather hire men or older women rather than women in their 20's and 30's, regardless of discrimination laws.
  
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RubyHypatia
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Re: How to argue about paid maternity leave?
Reply #6 - Feb 24th, 2013 at 6:52am
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Agreed Chris.  Obamacare will also keep businesses from hiring.  Who knows when we'll see 5% unemployment again.
  
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Re: How to argue about paid maternity leave?
Reply #7 - Feb 26th, 2013 at 8:10am
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The Family Medical Leave Act does require an employer to allow a person time off for medical reasons but does not require that this needs to be paid time off. Having it paid time off would be a matter of the compensation package for the employee. Many companies do pay for limited maternity leave but most do not.

More companies provide "sick leave" that could also be used for materity leave. One thing I'd like to see personally is the accumulation of sick leave as opposed to the "use it or lose it" benefit most companies offer.

It is normally in the best interests of the enterprise to take good care of the employee including providing for materity leave. In most enterprises a new employee won't "earn their keep" for at least six months so it's less expensive to the enterprise to allow limited paid time off for maternity leave than it is to lose the employee.

But then again most small business owners aren't all that sharp at understanding what is really best for their enterprise.

  
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Re: How to argue about paid maternity leave?
Reply #8 - Feb 26th, 2013 at 8:20am
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RubyHypatia wrote on Feb 24th, 2013 at 6:52am:
Obamacare will also keep businesses from hiring. Who knows when we'll see 5% unemployment again.


There really isn't any evidence of this being a fact. I oppose the ACA but not because of any potential job losses. In fact it will expand the health services industries potentially creating millions of new jobs.

The problem is that it's just piss poor legislation based upon several prior Republican proposals for national health care. Creating state run "private insurance exchanges" was a prior Republican proposal. The "individual mandate" was a prior Republican proposal. Basically the ACA was Republican proposed national Health Care Program passed by a Democratic Congress and it sucks.

  
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