I believe in the right to life, family values and free markets. All three need to come into play with regard to paid maternity leave. Children are literally dying because we are pressuring mothers to rush back to workforce before 6 months after birth of their children. Megyn Kelly had two women who lost babies in daycare after having to go back to work before they felt comfortable. Both lost their children the first day of daycare. 55 of every 1000 babies die in the first 6 months of life with 31 of those in the first month, according to the global study cited. If we want to get local, Delaware has the 6th highest infant mortality rate in the nation at over 7 per 1000. This makes it more compelling for Delaware to lead. 4 big ways to reduce that are no smoking, medical care, safe sleep and maternal presence. It is clear that we need paid maternal leave.
The question is how do we do it? Burdening business with another mandate is the wrong solution. It will make young women less likely to be promoted because presumably the pay will be based upon higher salary. It could increase the wage gap between men and women which would be morally wrong in my opinion. Many businesses can’t afford it. It could mean that service declines in some small businesses who would have to pay for people not working and not have enough money to pay for new workers. Small business would be at a competitive disadvantage which will stifle innovation and one of the few bright spots in the economy.
Another solution is to give a government benefit to new mothers. There is nothing wrong with that except have you noticed that the government is out of money from all of the other “great idea” giveaways?
The solution is a better way. Take unemployment insurance and have a negative checkoff 8-20 dollars a month depending upon income, for women 18 to 48 that is invested sensibly. Give them paid maturity leave for 6 months and protect their right to return for a year by law. Don’t create a new bureaucracy. The exact numbers would be worked out but these are based upon private sector short term disability and the New York experiment. No mandates, no new taxes, and no drain on business, what is there not to like? We need someone in Delaware with the courage to champion it. So I will start.
This would be voluntary in that a woman could opt out by an affirmative choice. Unless she can’t have children by natural or artificial reasons, she would be foolish to refuse to contribute 2 dollars a week for her own benefit. For it to work, there would have to be a few years of contributions to get the full benefit. Therefore starting when you’re pregnant won’t be as profitable. We could supplement the first 3 years with a special earned income tax credit paid to women who stay home with infants in order to allow the fund to amortize.
We, conservatives have the solutions Delaware needs. We need to have the courage to stand up and offer them. We need to lead our state into a bright new day.