Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Jonathan Cohn on Work/Family Policies

Jonathan Cohn (almost the only serious/nuanced regular analyst at the New Republic these days) has a piece on the state of parental-leave laws, child-care support, and other work-family initiatives. Apparently the White House is hosting a meeting of academics, policy sorts, and business leaders on these issues next Monday.

Policies that allow parents to spend more time with young children and get better day care have clear, quantifiable costs. They also have clear, quantifiable benefits—not just in the form of better child and maternal health, but also in the form of better retention and possibly higher productivity.  As a matter of fact, there’s reason to think that America’s retrograde treatment of working families doesn’t help the economy at all. It might actually be hurting it....

The case for more generous parental leave laws begins with the cost—and the fact it's one that most of the rest of world happily bears. Among developed nations, the U.S. is now the only one that doesn’t guarantee some kind of paid employee leave available for new parents. In these countries, firms don’t typically bear the costs directly. Instead, governments set up funds that work the way unemployment and disability insurance do—workers and employers pay into the funds, through some kind of payroll contribution, and then take money out of it when they become parents.

Whatever is the right amount of government encouragement on this question, isn't it substantially more than our country is doing? Would love to hear Lisa Schiltz's latest thoughts (following on these), and the thoughts of others.


Berg, Thomas | Permalink