Employers and Employees Should Determine Family Leave Programs, Not Government Mandates

Colorado's proposed Paid Family and Medical Leave Program is the wrong solution for Colorado's employers and employees. Leave programs should not be determined by arbitrary government mandates.

The Colorado Paid Family and Medical Leave Task Force has been meeting since July of this year. It appears they are no closer to a “solution” than the government chamber that set up the task force. This is good in that maybe our elected officials will understand that there is no government responsibility in controlling businesses and forcing them into offering specific employee programs.

It is most important to note that an employee can negotiate for him/herself what type of compensation package is implemented when hired for a position. There are numerous factors that are evaluated on both sides of the table. The employee looks at their skill set, the type of job/position desired and the potential for promotion, the reputation of the company, the work environment of the company (compatibility with staff, location of workspace, etc.), and the pay package offered including benefits. The employer offers a compensation package based on experience, education, number of hours worked including part-time employment and overtime, industry, etc., that includes not just salary, but a combination of many benefits, which can include healthcare insurance, paid sick days, and paid vacation days, to name a few.  Some businesses may offer a paid family leave package. These decisions are made by the business as a private enterprise without government input. It is the individual’s right to accept or reject the compensation package presented. The government does not and should not be involved in this discussion.  In fact, the more regulation that is forced upon employers in terms of employee compensation the less freedom there is to fully compensate one for their productivity as the government is forcing a “one size fits all” package.

The overwhelming flaws in the Paid Family and Medical Leave legislation introduced last session were detrimental to businesses.  It is apparent that the state government has no reasonable understanding of operational activities within the walls of a business, including financial decisions.  If SB 19-188 had passed it would have been the death for many small businesses resulting in the loss of jobs for many employees, supposedly the people this program wanted to help.  Legislators had insisted that the program would cost no more than $1 billion, which was debated at the time.  A recent actuarial study presented in early December by Bob Ingco, operator of AMI Risk Consultants of Miami, hired by the state, brought the initial cost at $1.1 billion to $2.2 billion with the disclaimer:  “Although we believe that the assumptions and methods we used—and, of course, our projections—are reasonable, we could still be way off in predicting the future.”

If this program is so greatly desired, why is the state planning on instituting a “premium” instead of a tax deducted from an employee’s check?  The answer is obvious.  Here in Colorado, this new tax would have to go to the vote of the people because of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, and it would be voted down.  Once again, PBIs (Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Interested Parties) believe that they know what is best for the voters of Colorado.  They are afraid to hear the voice of the hard-working people reject their offer.  We can list a number of programs that have been mandated by the government that only hindered the economic growth of individuals, and if the Paid Family and Medical Leave program is ever passed in Colorado, it would be another one to add to failures.

If the government truly wants to help employers and their employees, burdensome rules and regulations placed upon businesses should be eliminated. This way, the cost of doing business would be decreased and the savings can be passed onto employees in the form of higher salaries.  Better yet, instead of increasing taxes by 0.7-1.14% for the employee, known as a premium in this case, the state should decrease paycheck taxes by 0.7-1.14%.  This way the individual can use the funds for their own emergency not dictated within the language of a state bill.

Let me be clear.  I am not against family leave programs.  I am against an inflexible mandated program implemented by the government.  Let employers and families evaluate their choices and let them decide what fits best for them.  Let employers and families take on the responsibility of achieving economic prosperity for ourselves without additional government interference.

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One Response

  1. As a friend of liberty, I agree with your position. For more than a century, sound economists (e.g. Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek, and Henry Hazlitt) have proved that coercive political “policy choices” are always inferior to individual choice at maximizing benefits to free individuals. The coercive power exercised by “PBIs” inevitably damages their logical and moral judgment. No one is immune. That’s why they (PBIs) are so often anxious to hide what they do from the electorate.

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