• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Female Workers Will Pay Price for Federal Parental Leave Act

    Federal employees receive up to 12 weeks a year of unpaid parental leave for the birth of a new child, adoption or foster child care, and they can take paid sick or vacation leave during that time. The House is set to vote on H.R. 5781, the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, which converts eight of those 12 weeks of unpaid leave into paid leave.

    Congress understandably wants to ease the tension between work and family for new parents, but federal employees already receive higher pay and more generous benefits than similarly skilled private sector workers. The Congressional Budget Office estimates the legislation will cost taxpayers $200 million a year. It is not fair to tax all Americans to pay for greater benefits for already well-off federal employees. Given the current fiscal situation, it is especially irresponsible. If Congress believes paid parental leave is important for federal workers, lawmakers should reduce spending on other federal benefits to pay for it.

    Unfortunately, this bill is not standalone legislation. It is part of a larger push to require private sector employers to provide paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and maternity leave benefits.

    On the surface, this seems appealing. Balancing work and family is challenging, and paid maternity leave would ease the strain of childbirth for many families. However, the effects of a law rarely stop at what Congress intends. Requiring employers to provide paid maternity leave would have serious unintended consequences that would harm women in the workforce.

    Employers care about the total compensation they provide their employees, not how they divide that compensation between wages and benefits. If lawmakers require employers to provide paid maternity leave, they will increase their spending on maternity leave benefits — and decrease working women’s wages by a matching amount. That is exactly how they reacted to previous laws that required employer provided health insurance to cover maternity care.

    If anti-discrimination laws prevent employers from paying potential mothers less than other employees, companies will try to avoid hiring potential mothers in the first place. No employer wants the financial liability of pay a worker full wages over several months of not working. Employers will simply hire applicants — namely men — who are at no risk of going on maternity leave. A law intended to help parents balance work and family would harm the very people it is meant to help.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to Female Workers Will Pay Price for Federal Parental Leave Act

    1. Kelli, Sylmar, Calif says:

      I don't want to loose my job just because I want to have a baby! I would rather just have the regular leave that we are granted and have the same for government working women too! I don't understand why the government thinks that they are better than the working class people that put them into those positions in the first place. They need to get to work and get out of our pockets! It is bad enough that I have to work a full day now just to pay for a full tank of gas or to pay such ridiculous prices for daycare. I yearn for the days of old when a wife could actually stay home with her babies and not have to worry if she will be able to feed them or not. And since I am on the subject…letting illegal immigrants get the benefits that I should be able to get as an American woman is RIDICULOUS! We really need someone to come in and get rid of these leeches. I have nothing against someone wanting a better life for their family, but rules are rules and you shouldn't be able to break them, just cause you think no one else would be willing to do the job……I am married to an American Mexican and he can't stand what the illegal's are doing to our country. He is more American than I am!

    2. Pingback: Financial-Liability » Financial Liability of Parents for Children Born Out of Wedlock

    3. Maria, Bluemont VA says:

      Both my husband and I work for the government and currently I’m expecting (due in Dec). Saying that federal employees already get all these "great" benefits is crap! At least for anyone under a GS-11. I’ve worked in the private sector for most of my administrative career and had better benefits/salary than I do now. I pay more in health care and have a lower salary. How they get you is the retirement. By the time you see how everything works and are thoroughly disgusted you have too many years in to the system to leave. The big waste of money is not the actually government employees it’s the government contractors that do the same job and get twice the salary.

      Our country treats pregnancy like it's a disease! What does that say about our future? I wish I could stay home after the baby is born and if I could I wouldn’t use the benefit. I’d save for someone who needed it. I’m sure I’m the only one who would do such a thing. Other countries give decent to insane levels of maternity and even paternity leave. I’m not looking for a hand out – I work for the government and don’t get one now – I’m just looking for peace of mind for even 4 weeks and heck I’ll even take short term disability just to get something. I see plenty of items just where I work that could be cut to save money to put in the pot and employees wouldn’t miss it.

    4. Pingback: Financial-Liability » Ohio Dog and Kennel Legislation

    5. Sara, Seattle says:

      Let's be realistic. It would be against the law for employers to give women lower wages to compensate for better maternity benefits. If anything, men AND women would have SLIGHTLY lower wages. Another thing to consider is the possibility of a company to hire and retain women who are or are thinking of becoming pregnant. It is alot more affordable for a company to keep a current employee than to hire and train a new one. Good maternity benefits are something that women look for in an employer and they are more likely to stay with an employer who has those benefits.

    6. Pingback: Extended Maternity Leave and Office Morale « The Mama Bee

    7. Zach, Raleigh says:

      The issue of this bill is it is yet another expansion of Nanny-Statism. Having a baby is a personal choice. Why should all of America pay for a woman to have a baby? That is your choice. If you can't afford it, don't do it.

      I'm very tired of people thinking that the Government should be their for them. The free-market does not discriminate, while the Government does. Stop looking for solutions from Government. Americans need to learn to take the consequences(positive and negative) of our actions.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.