Banker: Invest in Paid Family Leave
January 14, 2014-Tom
HARRISBURG- A strong voice from Wall Street is weighing in on the importance of paid
family leave for parents of newborn children and people caring for
seriously-ill or elderly relatives, in Pennsylvania and nationwide.
to investment banker Tom Nides, who served as Deputy U.S. Secretary of State
and recently moved to Morgan Stanley as vice-chairman, he believes in
legislation introduced in Congress that would create employee-paycheck
deduction pools. Those would be used to compensate workers during family
"I think it's a huge benefit and a huge
plus," he said. "We've got to move this debate forward. It's, by the
way, the right thing to do."
Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman Bob Brady
is co-sponsoring the federal Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, which has
been introduced in both the U.S. House and Senate. This month, Rhode Island
became the third state to offer workers paid family leave, joining California
and New Jersey.
Some business groups say that, even though
family leave wouldn't be paid by taxpayers or employers but by paycheck
deductions, it should be voluntary, not government-mandated. Nides, however,
said it is an idea whose time has come.
"I am totally aware, as a businessperson
and as someone who's been involved in public policy for a long time, that this
is difficult for a lot of companies, this is expensive," he admitted.
"But we've got to begin having this conversation in the United
Nides said he believes worker productivity
will rise and employers will recognize the good will that comes out of paying
for family-related time off.
"There's no question that studies have
shown that individuals, given the opportunity to have a few weeks to take care
of a newborn or a sick family member, it's critically important to the
productivity of that individual."
Surveys have shown America lags behind many
other developed nations in offering paid family leave.