Greater Government Economic Intervention Isn’t the Only Way for Workers to Receive More Paid Leave

President Trump, along with his daughter Ivanka, have frequently advocated for mandated paid family leave. Most recently, on Mother’s Day, Trump touted his desire to implement paid family leave policy.

Cato policy analyst Vanessa Brown Calder has written extensively on the negative consequences for women when government mandates paid family leave. Calder notes that in other countries that have implemented these policies women end up taking a pay cut.

It is not just free-market organizations that question whether women would benefit from paid leave. Former President Obama’s Director of the National Economic Council Larry Summers’s analysis of mandated benefits finds that women bear more of the cost of mandated leave than men. Summers wrote that “employers seek to hire workers with lower benefit costs.”

Research suggests government-mandated paid leave policies would lower women’s wages and harm their chances of securing a job, because of the added costs associated with hiring women. 

However, there is a bill, which has already passed the House, which would allow women—and any other worker—to choose to accumulate more paid leave without government economic intervention.

Yesterday, as I wrote in Inside Sources:

The Working Families Flexibility Act of 2017, passed by the House of Representatives this month, would amend the Depression-era Fair Labor Standards Act to permit, not require, employers to offer employees the choice between compensatory (“comp”) time instead of overtime pay. Both employer and employee would have to agree on this arrangement, and employers could not coerce employees about it. Both overtime wages and comp time would accrue at 1.5 times overtime hours worked. In addition, if an employee does not use all comp time that’s accrued, it can be cashed it in at the end of the year.

Simply, this legislation empowers workers by giving them greater control of their own time and how they are compensated.

Today, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, along with 14 other free-market organizations, urged the Senate to pass the Working Families Flexibility Act, sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

Workers, both women and men, juggle hectic schedules and they should have the choice on how they are compensated. If President Trump wants to give women greater flexibility and the ability to get more paid time off, that option is already on the table without layering on more government interference and mandated costs on employers.