Paid leave for all – will leave us paying the price

It is not a shock that the left is finally pushing for mandatory paid leave.   Clinton signed the Family and Medical Leave Act in the 90s and we all knew it wouldn’t take long for the economically uneducated liberals to figure out that unpaid leave is not really valuable if you can’t afford to not get paid.

So now Obama comes out with this great idea – mandating paid leave for maternity and sick leave.   Great!  Wonderful!  How right and just and fair!  Sure, sounds great, but it won’t work in the “real world” i.e. private sector. Of course, the intelligentsia leftists, who have never owned or run a business (Obama), have no perspective on the downside.

Now before I upset many friends and neighbors, let me say that I was, at one time, a “government” worker – employed by the federal government in an executive agency.  Yes, I was a political appointee, but I still got to see how the agency works . . . . so very slowly.

Because you see, mandating this for federal workers will not have the same impact as mandating it on the private sector.  That is because the federal government is extremely inefficient.  If someone in your office is out on paid leave . . . well, the work will wait until they return.  No big hurry, no rush.  I love to tell the story of how on my first week at DOJ, I was given an assignment to reply to questions from a Senator to the Attorney General.  I drafted the answers and put them in a nice envelop labeled “Exec Sec” so that they could be reviewed and approved (Executive Secretary, but I never did figure out who or what that really was).  Seven months later, during my last week employed by DOJ, I received a nice envelop on my desk from the mysterious Exec Sec.  In it were the answers I had drafted months ago, with a polite note asking me to please review and approve the enclosed so that they could be delivered to Capitol HIll.  WHAT???  Where had they been for all this time?  Was Exec Sec out on paid or unpaid leave?  Did no one, save the Senator, care about the timing of the reply.  I felt like a failure – but no one else at DOJ shared my view.  “Don’t sweat it,” I was told, “that’s just the way things are done . . . it takes a while for these things to make their way around all the offices that have to sign onto something.”  No rush, no worries.

In addition, Federal Government Departments hire as many people as the funding will allow.  If they don’t spend it – their yearly appropriation, they will “lose” it, and future increases as well.  It a perverse system, unless of course, your running it or employed by it.

But in the private sector, employers hire only the employees they need, and many times fewer than the need.  If an employee is not there, the work either doesn’t get done, resulting in loss of earnings to the business or the co-workers have to pick up the slack.  For example, if your favorite waitress is out on leave, will the restaurant pay someone else to fill in, or will service be slower?  If they are forced to pay the employee who is not working, they will not have the money to pay someone else to take her place, and you will suffer, and the servers who do show up will resent the one on paid leave for making them do twice the work for the same money.

But Obama and his ilk don’t get this, don’t want to and don’t really care if employers are hurt by it.  They think a loss of business earnings just means less profit for the evil business owners.  But it really means higher prices for you and me, poorer service,  and could even lead to [gasp] discrimination against women of child-bearing age, the obese or sickly.  No business will hire anyone they think will have higher than average sick leave needs.

Ignorance is not bliss . . . and mandated paid leave is a bad idea whose time has not come.

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