Americans want people to have jobs that pay well and provide good benefits. When we hear of people working hard and barely scraping by, we’re frustrated: People doing the right thing – showing up to work every day and fulfilling their jobs – should be rewarded with more than just a paycheck. They should also be on the road to financial success and have a sense of basic financial security.

Unfortunately, in crafting public policies intended to facilitate that outcome, policymakers can inadvertently make economic success more difficult for those trying to move out of poverty and up the economic ladder. Imposing paid leave requirements and raising the minimum wage are two well-meaning but ultimately harmful policy proposals that would hurt, rather than help, many lower-income Americans. 

Requiring that all jobs provide paid leave benefits sounds like a compassionate policy. After all, workers are people too. Sometimes we get sick and cannot show up for work, or need to be able to take time off to care for a loved one. That’s why most businesses offer some form of paid leave benefits even though they aren’t legally required to.

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This article was originally posted in Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity