May 14, 2017

Sunday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (051417)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:00 am

This open thread is meant for commenters to post on items either briefly noted below (if any) or otherwise not covered at this blog. Rules are here.

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  1. Multiple stories on the network news about “maternity leave”.

    The assertion that the U.S. is one of the few countries without leave for the mother is misleading. Leave for the mother is based on “short term disability”. To not mention this is creating a false narrative. Both Short-term and Long-term disability apply EQUALLY to employees based on the medical need. Typical is 6-weeks on paid leave (probably directly related to the earliest a baby is allowed into a daycare setting; current assumption is that 6 weeks is the minimum amount for baby’s immunity to build up among only-family before exposes to many other people and a closed setting.)

    Whether or not 6 weeks is the right amount is a fair point to debate. What does medical science say about babies immunity functions? What does medical science say about mother’s physical and emotional recovery, which may be related to the father having some paid leave to allow the baby to have more at-home weeks for individual immunity. Employees who have rarely to never had a sick day will suddenly need to use some, in the 6-18 week period, as the parents also get the exposure via their child of all those daycare setting germ sharing. And there’s the dependent-care sick leave for the inevitable ear-ache plus temperature occasional day as baby’s immunity builds up.

    With the amount of leave — full-time in the first 6 weeks plus how many days during 7-52 weeks — there is also the issue of the Amount of Day. This again is a big issue the media, apparently being lazy with their maternity leave narrative, ignores to investigate and share facts. Short-term and long-term disability may not pay full-time salary. The standard employee benefit, in order to manage employer’s costs, will be capped. The calculation, buried in the long PDF insurance handbook that few download and even fewer could have the patience to read, is a formula: X-percent of your salary up to a max of Y dollars. This is an area that can effect ANY employee: car accident, suddenly how do you pay the mortgage while at home in recovery when the ST or LT disability payment may be only 40% of your regular salary? Two-earner households will find a way to manage. Single folks may call on mom and dad to help, not only with the recovery care but also with a short gap-fill loan. Folks with less family network support will struggle medically and financially.

    The headlines about “maternity leave” are extremely annoying, obviously meant to hit a button for viewers. But the failure to properly inform viewers of the real situation, short-term disability, it a significant disappointment.
    – There are legitimate gripes in the availability (or not) of short-term disability to employees of smaller businesses. (These types of employers may have an informal solution with layoff, get on government benefits, and ‘re-hire’ conveniently timed as an unofficial solution.)
    – There are potentially significant concerns for those employed by companies with good benefit plans. One must stay in employment status so that the baby will be on the employee’s insurance, and thus will use the short-term disability (not the ‘layoff’ approach of no-benefits employees). But the low percent of paid leave vs regular salary will certainly motivate one to get back to full-time status.
    – There’s no 3rd way: Come back part-time for weeks 7-TBD. That will likely not work since less then full-time doesn’t quality the employee for employer-subsidized insurance which is important to keep until baby’s immunity is improved and any other unexpected healthy-growth issues can be discovered and addressed.

    There are important and meaningful issues to discuss for the first half-year of care. Should the U.S. approach be improved — certainly. But with media choosing an emotional-button narrative instead of the true range of facts — the public is unable to have a discussion based on the real situations.

    Comment by Cornfed — May 15, 2017 @ 5:31 am

  2. “the public is unable to have a discussion based on the real situations.”

    As usual.

    Comment by Tom — May 15, 2017 @ 2:18 pm

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