By Seth Grossman, Political Columnist
Governor Corzine is doing everything he can to bring “Paid Family Leave” to New Jersey by Christmas.?? He is counting on the Labor Committee of local Democrat Assemblyman and Senator-elect Jeff Van Drew to post the bill for a quick vote.?? He expects “bi-partisan” support from local “lame duck” Republicans Sonny McCullough, Nick Asselta, and Frank Blee.?
?? If they succeed, every person employed in this state with a newly born or adopted child will get ten weeks off with 2/3 pay each year.?? So will anyone who says they “provide care” including “psychological comfort” to any “family member” who has “a serious health condition”.?? Under the law, a note from a chiropractor establishes a “serious health condition”.?
?? How will we know if someone really “provides care”, and doesn’t spend the 10 weeks loafing, fishing or working under the table??? We won’t.?? Many will be away in vacation homes in Florida, or with “a family member” in Mexico.
?? Governor Jon Corzine claims that employees will pay the entire cost of the program with a payroll deduction of “one tenth of one percent of wages”.
?? Let’s check his math.?? An employee earning $300 per week would pay 30 cents a week, or $15.60 per year.?? If he takes his 10 weeks of paid family leave that year, he collects $2,000, or roughly 128 times what he put in.
?? That means Corzine’s plan only works if fewer than one in 128 employees take paid family leave a year.?? That is unlikely.
?? The new law directs the state to provide “an outreach program to inform employees of the availability of the benefits”.?? The usual slackers may be the first to take the new ten week paid vacation-especially when they are about to be laid off or fired.?? But soon, everyone who doesn’t take the “free” benefit will feel like a sucker.?? Then, even the boss will have his accountant put his whole family on the payroll so they all get paid to care for each other!
?? This will be a bonanza for public school teachers, cops and firemen who already get months of paid vacation, holidays, sick, and personal days off.?? Under the proposed legislation, they can add 8 weeks of family leave to the paid benefits they already have.
?? But what if the state doesn’t collect enough to pay these benefits??? No problem!?? The boss will pay!?? (So will taxpayers for public schools and local governments.)?? This is nothing new.?? The state already whacks employers each year for losses in its unemployment and disability “trust” funds.??
?? But that is only the beginning.?? Every time someone takes 10 weeks of paid family leave, a replacement must be hired and trained.?? When regular employees come back, the replacements get fired, even if they work better than the people they replaced. Bad employees who are fired would sue, claiming they were punished for taking family leave.?? Lawyers like me will make a fortune.
?? By the way, are you upset that almost everything you buy now comes from China or some other foreign country??? Thanks to stupid laws like this, American companies can’t make money from factories in this country anymore.
?? But what about the working mom who needs paid family leave to be home with her sick kids?
?? Forty years ago, this was not a problem.?? The income from one parent could comfortably support most families.?? Mom could afford to take 52 weeks of unpaid family leave all the time.?? When moms did work, they did it for personal fulfillment, or extra money for rainy days or family projects.
?? We are the first generation of Americans to force both parents to work just to make ends meet.?? Today, even two salaries are not enough to save for an emergency like caring for a sick child.?? Bad government laws and high taxes created this problem, and we should fix it.
?? When we get sick we take medicine and rest.? This cures the disease, and symptoms like high fever go away by themselves.?? But if we try to treat a symptom and bring down a fever by sitting in a bathtub filled with ice cubes, we only become sicker.?? Paid family leave treats only the symptom.?? It does nothing for the underlying disease.?? It only makes it worse.