Originally Posted by Piobaire
So, is this "fair" to women? The fact they bare children and in many cases have the majority of the duties of rearing young children? Well, I can't fix biology, in fact none of us can, so I think claims of the fact they have the vaginas so that's "unfair" is spurious. However, if society has determined that child baring/raising children should still earn the same hourly as their male counterparts I fail to see why individual organizations should foot the costs. FMLA really hurts small businesses. It's also no one's fault that mothers often exit the workforce, work reduced hours, and generally make more problematic employees therefore should not be promoted and/or compensated as non-problematic employees.
I think the way to fix this problem is that all organizations are compensated through tax dollars to eliminate the "pay gap." Design some sort of formula for a transfer payment to all organizations based on their female employees and the organizations will artificially inflate the average female pay to match the average male pay. Problem solved in a very equitable manner.
This is sort of a separate conversation from the "equality of outcomes" 78c/$ thing, but:
It's a good question to ask. Who bears the burden of raising families? Right now we're more or less pretending that women can "have it all," the career, the family, the money. It's resulting in failure on all ends, and some really burned out and unhappy people. That doesn't seem sustainable, and there's already a pretty big drop in fertility rates among a lot of the high performing people that we'd probably want to be having kids. Dumping the whole burden on businesses to just deal with it doesn't seem to work, for the reasons you laid out. Something akin to the Swedish model makes some sense (paid leave by the state, pooled between the two parents), but then that money needs to come from somewhere. Something like unemployment insurance, maybe.
It's sort of amazing how feeble the maternity (and paternity) policies are in the US compared to pretty much all of the West, and not just leave. This really isn't a "women's issue" either, since most families are two-income these days. It seriously affects anybody who chooses to have kids. But much of the conversation is just stuck on the "feminism" label.
I get the impression our policies are largely dominated by the needs of business, with a lot less consideration for the needs (and especially happiness) of workers. In that light, I'd be interested to see how different parental leave schemes affect productivity.