Letter to the Editor

Paid leave plan sounds like welfare program

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

To the editor:

Under Joe Lieberman's Paid Family Leave Plan, the national standards would include four weeks of paid leave under the same conditions and restrictions as the Family and Medical Leave Act. The four weeks would be part of the 12 weeks of leave under FMLA, not in addition to it. Workers would receive 50 percent of wages up to annual income of $75,000. The minimum benefit would be $200 per week, with a maximum of about $700. Small businesses could opt in. Federal oversight would be through the Department of Labor.

States could choose how to collect contributions and distribute benefits, whether they want to offer more generous payments and whether to extend the paid leave limit beyond four weeks.

Like FMLA, it would exempt small businesses with 50 or fewer employees which can't very well pay a minimum of $200 a week to someone who makes $200 a week and still call it 50 percent of pay.

The plan overall doesn't sound like an overly horrible idea. However, like most of these feel-good election-preceding ideas, it leaves way too much open for the states to muck it up and turn it into another tax-funded social program. I can see the beginnings of another state-disguised welfare program.


Scott City