IWF has been writing for years about how government proposals to mandate paid leave time can backfire on workers, particularly on women and those with lower incomes.
Yet this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a problem ought there or that we have to accept the status quo. Senator Marco Rubio deserves applause for talking about this important issue, and for trying to find a market-friendly way to encourage more businesses to offer paid leave—but without imposing mandates that will lead to job loss and reduced wages. I’ve written about another potential approach, using the earned income tax credit as a model to help those with lower-incomes during times they face unpaid leave.
Both ideas deserve closer examination, and it’s important for conservatives to start talking more about this important issue. Research shows that most voters support liberal proposals for government leave mandates, but only until they hear counter-arguments about their costs and unintended consequences. Americans don’t want an ObamaCare style takeover of our compensation system; they know that a one-size-fits-all leave policy is the opposite of true flexibility, would destroy jobs, and (perhaps ironically) impede women’s economic progress.
Yet people need to hear these arguments. That means Republicans can’t try to wish away this issue, but have to start making our case both for why the Left’s solutions aren’t really solutions, and why our approach will ultimately help more people.