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L.A.'s feel-good plan for paid leave won't feel nearly as good when the costs pile up

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City Councilwoman Nury Martinez and Councilman David Ryu have introduced a motion to develop a paid parental leave plan for Los Angeles.

Already, California’s parental and family leave programs offer up to 18 weeks of paid leave, at up to 70% of one’s pay, capped at $1,252 per week. The state programs are funded through mandatory payroll deductions; all employees contribute, not just those who benefit.

Under the proposed city program, L.A. businesses would likely be asked to cover the difference between 70% and 100% of workers’ wages.

Ryu says this policy is “good for business.” Proponents say it raises productivity, reduces turnover and increases profits.

When benefits are mandated by governments, it can lead firms to cut back in other ways.

But if it were truly good for businesses, more of them would offer paid maternity leave without a government mandate. This initiative would put L.A. businesses at a competitive disadvantage, hindering economic development efforts.


© Los Angeles Times