After New York’s paid family leave was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Late Night host Seth Meyers used the news to comment on the national state of family leave for Tuesday’s “A Closer Look” segment.
Meyers, who noted that New York became the fifth state with such a law, called it “fantastic.” “But this kind of law should be the rule, not the exception. We should have policies in place that help all Americans be the best parents they can be,” he said.
If not, Meyers warned fathers could incorrectly diaper, feed, or bond with their children.
“When it comes to paid family leave, the United States lags way behind the rest of the developed world,” Meyers said. But, will more state laws, or a national system for paid family leave, help?
The policy has support from Democrats, with President Barack Obama calling for paid family leave in his 2015 and 2016 State of the Union Addresses, and the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act was sponsored by Democrats in the House and the Senate. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have also made paid family leave campaign issues.
Netflix made news last year for their paid family leave policy, which gives parents unlimited time off in the child’s first year.
Network for enlightened Women (NeW) president Karin Agness noted last year on Netflix’s policy in U.S. News & World Report that, “we should be wary of a one-size-fits-all approach to family leave.” While Netflix may be able to offer a generous package, and has done so even without a government mandate, others may not:
…But for others, including many small businesses, a mandated paid leave requirement could have unintended consequences. For example, some companies may be forced to cut hours or pay for all employees to balance out the costs of providing this benefit to workers who have babies.
The Independent Women’s Forum had similar thoughts. Carrie Lukas, managing director, shared:
Policymakers should be focused on making it easier for businesses to create jobs so that more people can find jobs that meet their needs. Unfortunately, these laws move in the wrong direction — they make it more expensive for a business to hire a worker, which means that there will be few jobs. Those with fewer skills and lower pay will pay the biggest price for these mandates as employers seek to consolidate jobs and compensate for increased benefit costs with lower take home pay. These laws are well-intended but can sadly backfire on those we most want to help.