Friday, February 21, 2020

Gov. Lee's proposed generous paid family leave policy to be presented as a legislative proposal instead of an Executive Order.

by Rod Williams - A couple months ago Governor Bill Lee announced that he was issuing an executive order to grant 38,000 State employees with up to twelve weeks of paid family leave.  I may be mistaken but I believe the first public announcement of this was at a First Tuesday meeting where he spoke, where I was in attendance.  If that was not the first announcement of the policy it was news to those in attendance.  At that meeting, I recall him saying something to the effect that this would be accomplished by shifting money from various funds and would not require additional funding.

I remember thinking at the time, that it is not possible to institute such a generous employee  benefit without there being a fiscal impact.  Yes, it may be possible to trim a little here and there to get money to spend money elsewhere one time, but that is not therefore free money.  A benefit of this magnitude has a cost.

I remember after the First Tuesday meeting was over, standing near the elevator with other attendees discussing the announcement. The question everyone wondered about was how was he going to pay for this and some were perplexed that he could dismiss the cost of the policy as not an important factor. Well, legislators have had the same concerns.

Gov. Lee has now announced that he is reversing course and seeking legislation to implement the policy rather than doing so by executive order.  That is the right thing to do.  There will be a fiscal note. There will be a cost to the policy.

I am not necessarily opposed to the policy.  I am a new grandfather to a one-year old grandson and am pleased by daughter got to spend some weeks of paid leave with her new baby.  I think it is sad that a mother gives birth and has to immediately return to work.  I wish all mothers could stay home with their baby until the child started kindergarten but I do not expect the tax payers to fund such a policy.

It may be that when presented as a legislative proposal, the proposal may call for the employee benefit package to be adjusted to provide for this benefit and employee cost cut elsewhere.  Retirement dates could be extended or step increase periods be extended to pay for it or perhaps it can simply be budgeted as an additional expense. However it is proposed to be paid for, recognizing that it does cost something and is a decision for the legislature to make is the correct course of action.

For more on this, follow this link.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

No comments:

Post a Comment