Paid Maternity Leave – Elijah’s Blog

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Ok let’s talk about this whole paid maternity leave for a second. The ‘left’ has been advocating for government-mandated paid maternity leave for a while, and now that Trump has advocated it, many people on ‘the right’ are jumping on board.
I can understand why both sides would do it too.
Progressives hold equality as their primary political value, and they believe that the government should promote equality above almost anything else. And conservatives hold very strongly to the idea the government is here to promote a society in which the traditional family is upheld.
Even though equality and family are very important things, I think mandatory, government-enforced, paid maternity leave is a bad idea. And here’s why.photo-1474244037712-b4ba4128170fFirst, let me say this.

Paid maternity leave is great. It is a wonderful thing. If possible, I encourage everyone to work for companies who offer paid maternity leave.
 
But let me also say this.
Paid maternity leave isn’t some kind of right. It is a privilege that we have because some companies are willing to offer that service to their employees, at great expense to the company.
 
Think about it. What is involved in paid maternity leave, from the business’ perspective?
– they have to pay someone to do no work, for an extended period of time.
– they have to pay someone else to do the work that the new mother isn’t currently doing (which may include extensive training).
– they have to keep the job for the new mom when (or if) she comes back.
 
All of this costs money.
Which is why I think it’s awesome when a company *voluntarily* offers this to their employees. Unlike what many people assume, it is not a “country” that offers paid maternity leave, it is a business that offers it. All the government can do is make it mandatory.
 
But what would happen, from the business’ perspective, if paid maternity leave is forced upon them from the government? Well, they’d likely hire fewer women of child-bearing age. Or, if it paid maternity leave was only available to full-time employees, they would only hire part-time women.
 
And this means that the women who are not going to have children in their 20s & 30s are hurt by the mandate, because they are not going to take advantage of the paid maternity leave, yet they are discriminated against because of it.
Result? – fewer young women are hired.
 
Additionally, companies are generally pretty good at budgeting. They have a set amount of money that they are willing to pay for a particular employee. If paid maternity leave becomes required by government, there is a good chance that the woman’s pay will decrease because those same resources must be re-allocated to paying for potential paid maternity leave.
Result? – a wage gap between men and women, because of a government mandate.
 
Fewer young women getting hired, and when they do… they get hired at a lower pay rate than equally qualified men? Two problems that people are trying to erase from the private sector, being ushered in by government regulations.
 
Please think about this before you dive in, just because you think paid maternity leave is a good idea. I agree that it is a great idea, but I also don’t want the government to get involved in the way people run their business, because it always ends up hurting more than it helps. Plus, at a more fundamental level, it is a violation of government’s purpose; to promote promote personal and economic liberty, as much as possible.

Please don’t support government-enforced, mandatory paid maternity leave. Please.
We can not simply embrace this culture of “free stuff” and expect to have long term progress or prosperity.

Additional resources:
The Tom Woods Show, Episode 738
Independent Women’s Forum, video

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