Mama Pay

Tim Sackett Change, Good HR, HR, in the news, Tim Sackett

Oh, boy, here comes Obama again making me pay for other people’s choices!  This time around he would like all workers to pay for other workers to stay home for 12 weeks, paid, while caring for their new born babies—paid maternity leave.  A worker can use this for their first baby, second, third… 19th, and so on.  Each time for 12 weeks.

I have to say, I’m not usually a big fan of Obama and his love of creating a welfare-entitled country, but I’m a big fan of this. Obama’s proposed plan will be paid through another employment tax on workers, basically $.02 per $10 (which means if you make $50,000 a year you’ll be paying $100 per year).  I love how politicians love to use crappy marketing tricks to make it seem like nothing. It’s only 2 cents! Per $10! And we dumb Americans go, “Well, golly, geez, that ain’t much!”

I’m done having babies, I think. So, this doesn’t impact me personally. I do, though, have a workforce that is in the prime baby-making years!  In the past five years in my office we have had 8 HRU babies, between the men and women in my office.  Most took the full time off, even though we don’t pay them to be off.  Some did come back early, because of financial constraints.  I didn’t like that.  I’m a firm believer that moms and dads have this very tiny window when your kids will be a newborn baby, and you should cherish every single minute of that!

I do think it will be tough on many companies, but as Obama and his team love to point out, America is the last developed country not to offer paid maternity leave.  I’m not a big fan of “everybody is doing it, so we should, too,” but in this instance, we should, too!  I say “tough on companies,” not because they’ll be paying for it—they won’t.  It will be tough because it’s a change.  Right now, with formal government maternity pay program, many people have babies and come back to work as soon as they can. When you’re being paid to be on leave, you can bet most will take the full time off.  Companies will adjust.  My company does this often, and we are always fine.

It’s funny how we all support various things in our ideology.  I hate government telling me what I have to do as an employer.  I believe in a Capitalist environment—employers will get there on their own in order to maintain competitiveness.  Our reality, though, is that businesses in the U.S. have not stepped forward on this issue, so while it’s hard for the Republican in me to accept this, it’s the right thing to do—and a popular thing to do politically.

Like all policy proposals, there will be a bit of hashing out the specifics before we really know what we’ll end up with. I wondering why we stop at Mama Pay and don’t make it a paternity policy.  If we are going to make a change, let’s do it right, and not half-ass. Why, again, should my government decide for me, who gets to stay home for my family? What if my wife is a business owner, and we decide I should stay home for those 12 weeks and take care of the baby? Much debate on this issue to come, I believe.

I’m wondering, will this policy have an impact on your business, and if so… how?  Hit me in the comments.