Watch out for the penny per hour wage tax
Before I explain how bad the Legislature’s penny-per-hour tax for family leave policy is, let me first show how over-zealous family leave laws have hurt Europe.
Europe’s aggressive family leave laws are the goal of Oregon liberal lawmakers. Yet, Europe has its problems. According to the Wall Street Journal (6/20/07), unemployment among women in Europe is 50% greater than the U.S. As the liberals keep piling on mandates, regulations, and taxes designed to protect women it has had the opposite effect of making them unemployable to employers. Oregon lawmakers think they can hurt local businesses with good intentions and expect no impact.
Another family leave law paradise is Sweden where one on leave can get up 80% of their salary for an unlimited time period. The Heritage Foundation discovered that “At any given moment, 10% of Sweden’s works are on sick leave and over 3/5ths tell pollsters that they take the leave when they have no health problems“
HB 2575 aims to tax employees a penny-per-hour to fund family and sick leave (into a Family Leave Benefits Insurance Account) for employees tending to their health or health of a family member. Oregon already has more mandates on family leave than the average state, but the politicians want to take it further. Just implementing the program would be an expense in itself. The State of Washington has a pilot program, and administrative costs take up almost 50% of the revenue raised. As more people use the program the costs are expected to rise and require a higher tax.
Politicians forget that it costs real money when employees use the family leave law. It takes money to locate, screen, hire and train a temporary replacement. More mandates, more rules, more expenses only make it harder to hire employees in the Northwest.
Studies show that businesses are doing the right thing when they can. 85% of businesses (20+ employees) offer tuition assistance, 74% paid sick leave, and 45% offer adoption assistance. A NFIB study shows that 60% of small businesses already provide extra paid leave for family emergencies or maternity care.