Guest opinion: No more delaying, Utah. It’s time for paid parental leave

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  • Jones Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2019 9:59 a.m.

    Utah state employees ALREADY HAVE paid parental leave. Depending on years of service, state employees receive between 5 and 7 weeks of paid leave every year (on top of state holidays). Most of that can be carried over and accumulated.

    A responsible employee can plan for the birth of a child by accumulating existing paid leave.

    Should those 5 to 7 weeks be increased? Should employees who have a child receive more than other employees? Those are questions to have an honest policy conversation about.

    But to phrase the issue in terms of "whether" state employees should receive paid parental leave is simply intellectually dishonest. They already have it. The issue is whether they need more.

  • 1aggie Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2019 9:14 a.m.

    Over 30 yrs ago (living outside UT) when I had our first child I was able to take nearly 20 weeks off from work. Between what state disability paid and the sick/vacation I had accrued I received at least a partial paycheck that entire time. It was much appreciated and needed, since we were living paycheck to paycheck at that time (and our colicky baby kept me up most nights—for months).

    I’m surprised UT is so slow to adopt this benefit since they emphasize the importance of family.

    (Are we as worried about who is going to pay for it when we pass a tax bill that is going to add 2.3 trillion to our national debt over the next decade)?

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    June 18, 2019 5:50 a.m.

    Everyone likes "family values" until it comes time to pay for them.

    IMHO, a good idea is worth the cost. The nattering nabobs of negativism ( a tip of the hat to Buchanan) on the right surely can come up with a reduction of expense elsewhere in corporate or government budgets to pay for this kind of thing.

    Why so negative? Why not a "can do" attitude? And besides, is there more to life than a few bucks of corporate profits or taxes spent to benefit American families. Especially families who live on the financial edge.

  • No One Of Consequence Salt Lake City, UT
    June 17, 2019 5:07 p.m.

    It's all fun and games until the bill comes due.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, UT
    June 17, 2019 4:37 p.m.

    Does the State have a secret source of revenue that it uses to pay people to not work? If not, then it's you and me who will pay those people to not work.

    Are you okay with paying someone to not work? I've never been paid to not work. I've never paid any of my employees to not work.

    When I worked for others, I understood that "paid" vacation simply meant that my employer paid into my "vacation fund" in lieu of wages. When I had "company paid" insurance, I understood that the insurance was in lieu of wages. When the company "paid" half of my Social Security bill, I knew that the company was doing that in lieu of wages.

    As long as any paid time off is in lieu of wages, then the contract that a company or the State has with its employees is between the employee and the State or company. But, don't expect the taxpayer to be liable for family leave.

    No one paid my wife one cent for "time off" for our eight children. No one paid me one cent to take time off. Somehow we survived. But, we're from the generation that didn't expect a free ride and didn't accept a "nanny state" to feed us, clothe us or tuck us in at night.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    June 17, 2019 3:35 p.m.

    Paid parental leave is a fine benefit. But it is only one of many possible benefits a State might offer its public sector employees.

    Do we want to use government jobs and associated benefits for social engineering?

    Or, do we want to offer benefits with the widest appeal so as to attract and retain the best possible employees?

    In either case, we might want to offer some amount of paid parental or other family leave to State employees.

    Or, it might make better sense to offer all employees a fixed amount of paid time off, perhaps adding to that over time for seniority--so as to reward and encourage long term committment to the job--and then allow employees to use that paid time off as they see fit: Vacations, sick leave, caring for aged parents, or being home with a baby. Just remove or significantly raise any caps on how much paid time off an employee can accumulate and then let employees use or save their paid time off as they see fit.

    Some will be foolish and spend PTO as fast as they earn it. But the wise and prudent could save some of it for when it is needed.

    Myabe a better benefit to all State employees, rather than one primarily benefiting those in child bearing years.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    June 17, 2019 2:52 p.m.

    To "Rep. Elizabeth Weight" but you haven't answered the one critical question. Who will pay for this? If you push it on businesses, some will be more cautious when hiring younger workers. If you push it onto government, then how much will taxes have to increase?

    You are telling us that you want to buy a new program, but have not explained how you are going to pay for it. Just like a good set of parents, we want to make sure you have the finances portion figured out and understand the ramifications of where you get the money from.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 17, 2019 1:30 p.m.

    Sharkey
    RE: "Paid parental leave makes sense but I think companies need to bear the burden and not one's co-workers. My company just forces others to work more when someone is off"...
    ---
    What do you Expect them to do?

    Just leave the work undone?
    Hire someone temporarily to do the work they didn't do?

    Of course other employees will have to do the work they didn't do while they were off on family leave.... if the work really needs to get done that is.

    There's probably some work that doesn't matter if it gets done or doesn't get done. But most work needs to be done, so somebody has to do it (it won't do itself). So other employees will have to do it if another employee decides to not work for a few weeks/months.

    What do you really expect your employer to do? They aren't magicians.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 17, 2019 1:01 p.m.

    Paying people who don't work is not "Family Friendly". That's different.

    Paying people as if they came to work, when they don't come to work... is not fair to the employer. They get no work from you doing your job, but they pay you.

    If you want time off... take time off. Companies are required to allow you to do that. It's a Federal Law.

    Google "FMLA"...
    ---
    "The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides employees with up to 12 weeks of UNPAID, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that their group health benefits be maintained during the leave"...

    They aren't required to pay you as if you worked, though you elected to not work. And that seems fair. If you elect to not work those days (your decision)... you probably shouldn't be paid for those days.

    We didn't even have FMLA when my kids were born. And we got along fine. What's changed?

    ===

    You can take Family Leave when you need to Dark Knight (for birth, adoption, medical issue, etc). As long as it's not more than 3 months each year. But they don't have to pay you.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 17, 2019 12:05 p.m.

    Dark Knight
    There is more to the state than the state government. US News and World Reports just ranked Utah the 4th best state to live in. The state government hasn’t done too much to mess that up.

  • Sharkey Layton, UT
    June 17, 2019 10:23 a.m.

    Paid parental leave makes sense but I think companies need to bear the burden and not one's co-workers. My company just forces others to work more when someone is off.

  • The Dark Knight Salt Lake City, UT
    June 17, 2019 8:51 a.m.

    Paid parental leave has been absolutely vital for my family. The fact thag the state doesn't already grant it to its employees is just one of many examples of the fact that rhetoric of Utah being a family-friendly state is consistently at odds with the actions of our state government.