/ June 10, 2008

Take All the Time You Need, or at Least 8 weeks

The Federal government is taking steps to become more similar to its European counterparts by introducing legislation for standardized parental leave. This motion comes after California introduced a policy that provides for employees to be paid 55% of their full salary for a period of up to six weeks while out of the office caring for newborns or sick family members. After researching the action taken in other industrially similar nations, Congress determined the United States is the only one that does not provide for family needs. Businesses are concerned about the affect on productivity and how much a plan such as this would cost, but many believe that our country is in desperate need of this legislation. The percentage of families with two working parents stands at 70, meaning less time to take care of issues at home.

Proponents of the bill argue that being able to take time off when needed without having to worry about financial circumstances is a necessary action. The stress levels of Americans have been on the riseand if this bill passes, it might just take the pressure off of some. Whether it’s an ailing parent or a new born baby that needs care, workers feel guilty about not being able to take the time necessary to remedy the situation. The bill proposes that all businesses with 50 or more employees will be required to provide anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks paid leave for any employees that have newborns as well as newly adopted or foster children. The one stipulation of the plan is that employees who wish to take part will be expected to pay into the system such as with Social Security. The government will provide grant money for the programs and expect employers to do so as well. The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2008 was introduced in early April and is still waiting to be voted on.

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