Why Federally-Mandated Paid Maternity Leave Hurts Women

By Gina Florio
·  7 min read
Why Federally-Mandated Maternity Leave Hurts Women

I don’t think I’ve ever met someone who didn’t have compassion for working moms. How they jump through hoops to keep a steady home life while still working is admirable, to say the least.

In fact, progressives have preyed on our overwhelming compassion for working moms, and one of their many demands is that the federal government mandate paid maternity leave across the country. Moms get to stay at home with their new baby while still making a decent salary, and their employer absolutely must provide it. It sounds great, doesn’t it? 

Federally-Mandated Paid Maternity Leave Hurts Small Businesses

As utopian and “just” as it does sound, it’s yet another trick of faux compassion that progressives use to manipulate the masses to vote for a policy that sounds good, but in reality will hurt the very people it claims to help, just like the welfare system and a $15 minimum wage

First of all (and I can’t even believe I have to say this), of course, we want to give moms the opportunity for maternity leave. But remember, two things can be true at once: moms should have good options for maternity leave, and the federal government should not be mandating all private companies to provide paid maternity leave for their female employees. 

A federally-mandated maternity leave would crush small businesses, causing many to go bankrupt.

Just like we talked about when we were discussing the dangers of a $15 minimum wage, the USA is a large, very diverse country with 50 different states that each have their own economy that’s different from the next. Naturally, there’s a wide variety of businesses across the country, and the type of businesses you might see in San Francisco, CA are very different than the type of businesses you’ll see in Richmond Hill, GA. How does it make any sense that a small corner store in rural Alabama is required to offer the same 8-month paid maternity leave to their female employees as Twitter does? 

Setting a blanket mandate like a $15 minimum wage or paid maternity leave is the easiest way to kill small businesses and crush their opportunity to both grow revenue and hire more employees. Not only would a federally-mandated maternity leave crush small businesses and cause many to go bankrupt, but it would actually be a detriment to women as well. 

Federally-Mandated Paid Maternity Leave Hurts Women

Never forget that human beings run on incentives. Renowned economist Thomas Sowell explains this in pretty much all of his lengthy books on economics. And just like the rate of single motherhood skyrocketed after the establishment of the “Great Society” program in 1964 because women were incentivized not to marry the father of their children, so would small businesses be incentivized not to hire many (or any) women because they wouldn’t be able to afford to pay for a lengthy maternity leave. This sounds cruel, but many small businesses would be left with no choice if they’re being required by the federal government to pay an 8-month maternity leave. It’s either stay afloat or hire multiple young women and pay for some or all of their maternity leaves. 

Not to mention the fact that a several-month paid maternity leave simply isn’t doable for low-wage and low-skilled jobs. A motel maid simply isn’t going to get a 12-week paid maternity leave like an executive at Apple might. If these small businesses are forced by the federal government to pay for certain employees’ maternity leave, they’ll have to likely fire some employees or reduce some employees’ hours in order to pay for the added-on costs. 

The Federal Government Is Not Responsible for Our Happiness

Yet again, we see a progressive policy that harms the very people it claims to help. But fighting for a federally-mandated maternity leave hurts women in the long run in another way: it teaches them that the government is responsible for their wellbeing, their happiness, and their ability to care for their family.

This is entirely the wrong concept to have of the government. We know that the bigger the government gets (and the government will get much bigger if we give it the power to regulate maternity leave in private companies across America), the easier it is for it to gain tyrannical power over our lives. We don’t need the federal government fiddling in our personal lives and “trying” to help us raise our family. Just like late President Ronald Reagan said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

The only reason the American government was created was to protect our God-given rights.

That’s not to say that women are just entirely on their own when it comes to raising their family. Many large private companies can and should offer their female workers paid maternity leave, but that doesn’t mean all businesses should be forced to do so by the government. The government’s job is not to make your life easier — the only reason the American government was ever created in this republic was to protect our God-given rights. Progressives want you to think that the government should be taking care of women and minorities. Don’t fall for this trap. The more power we give the government, the more easily they’re able to control our lives.

Size, Culture, and Population Matter

As for the argument “There are plenty of Scandinavian countries that provide federally-mandated maternity leave for all their working women,” then I would encourage you to remember, once again, that the USA is a widely diverse and extremely large country that doesn’t even compare to, say, Estonia, whose government mandates a whopping 86 weeks of paid leave. Estonia’s population is 1.3 million. Houston, Texas alone has double that population.

It’s nearly impossible for the U.S. to copy European countries when it comes to a federally-mandated maternity leave. 

Size and culture and population matter greatly when it comes to matters of federal policies. We may covet some of what Scandinavian countries have, but they have some of the strictest immigration laws in the world and they’re very protective of their culture and heritage. If you emigrate there, you’re expected to assimilate swiftly into the culture. This promotes a feeling of brethren, of family; homogeneity is their strength, while diversity is the USA’s strength. Considering the population size, immigration laws, and cultural differences, it’s nearly impossible for the U.S. to copy European countries when it comes to things like federally-mandated maternity leave. 

Closing Thoughts

As much as we think we’re helping women by pushing for a federally-mandated maternity leave, we’re just putting them in a worse position to climb the professional ladder. Why would you want to implement a policy for women that’s going to hurt women in practice? Yes, women should be empowered to work while they’re raising kids if that’s what they want to do. But we should be looking more to the private sector and non-profit sector to help working moms do better. Time and time again, we know that these sectors do more to help those in need than the government ever will. Just look at what Dave Portnoy of Barstool Sports has been doing for small businesses everywhere. 

We need to encourage women to look in the right places for help to raise kids and still work — and that help shouldn’t come from the government. If we really care about helping working moms thrive, we need to start locally. Raise strong families, protect our communities, vote locally on policy that will directly affect the private sector in your hometown, etc. The federal government is the last one we should be looking to for help.

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