One of the major effects of the 40 year political movement waged by big business is that we have learned how to evaluate ideas from their perspective. Think about it. When you hear about paid parental leave, you wonder if it is fair to employers because they’ll have to pay for the employee on leave and a replacement during the leave period. You might worry that the burden is too much. I worry about it as a knee-jerk reaction that has been drilled into my brain by the unending arguments that what is good for business is good for people, but not the other way around. Turns out, that’s bullshit. Replacing long term employees is expensive – 1.5 to 2 times a worker’s annual compensation.
Second, paid leave is, and can be, funded like disability insurance and unemployment insurance – a nonmaterial expense, borne by all of us rather than by the employer.
Third, in many cases, upper middle class people get paid leave as part of their negotiated compensation. Really, forcing parents to choose between cash flow and a brand new baby is a plight of the ones without the power to negotiate – a brutal initiation of a new life and a critical relationship foisted on the people who have the least.
Here’s who gets hurt: the infant in need of immediate parenting for development, food and shelter for survival; the parents recovering from childbirth and new baby schedule; customers who deal with either an exhausted worker or a short staffed team; the business who had to replace the worker or incur reduced productivity costs; all of us who, will pay either for the now grown baby’s development arrested through absent parents or lack of adequate food and stimulation.
Here’s who benefits: the 1 to 12 managers who get to tout lean labor costs for the quarter.
How is this even a choice?