Giving new parents paid time off should be seen a wise long-term move, argues Ivanka Trump in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. It's an "investment," she writes, and one that would make for good national policy.
The entrepreneur and author of "Women Who Work" points out that paid leave is particularly crucial for mothers. "Women's increased participation in the workforce in recent decades has been an important driver of middle-class incomes; in fact, research by the Council of Economic Advisers suggests that the vast majority of middle-income growth since 1970 is the result of increased female labor-force participation and education," she writes.
So, she argues, funding parents, and particularly women, for the first six weeks after the birth or adoption of a baby helps keep them in the labor force.
This op-ed serves as her rebuttal to a scathing editorial that appeared in that paper in May about "The Ivanka Entitlement." The editors called her suggestion for a paid leave plan, which became part of her father's proposed budget, "bad policy and worse politics" and maintained that it would serve as a "disincentive for work."
Though the Democratic party platform calls for "at least 12 weeks of paid leave," critics on the left assailed the first daughter, calling her op-ed "elegant, utterly pointless" and "coherent, anodyne, and completely worthless" for ignoring the larger picture about the damage they say will be caused to working families by Republican policies.
Gary Legum in the Independent Journal Review writes that Trump "fails to acknowledge all the ways in which her father's administration is making life much more difficult for working- and middle-class families. Those other policies would more than cancel out the benefits of paid family leave, even if you could push it through this Congress."
Legum also points out that a "measly" six weeks is "insufficient," and he sums up the proposal as "a crumb tossed out to the proletariat."
Emily Peck at the Huffington Post also takes Trump to task for ignoring the current political context, writing that "trying to pass paid leave while drastically cutting women's health benefits is kind of like buying a beautiful new couch for your living room, while at the same time tearing down the room's walls."
Right now, the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) mandates that certain employers allow qualifying employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn't guarantee its citizens any paid leave at all, compelling about a quarter of new moms to return to work after only two weeks. The average amount of time off with compensation given to new mothers in developed countries is 17 weeks.
Some U.S. employers choose to provide paid leave as a perk, but, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that covers only 13 percent of the workforce.
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