RALEIGH – When Democrats’ bill to give state employees paid parental leave didn’t go anywhere in the General Assembly, Governor Roy Cooper decided he’d just do it by executive diktat.
That’s what Cooper did Thursday, signing an executive order to give state employees a full eight weeks of paid leave for mothers after having or adopting a baby, and four weeks of paid leave for spouses that are state employees.
“[…] The executive order Cooper signed extends paid parental leave for 56,000 state employees. New mothers will now get 8 weeks of paid leave, while spouses and adoptive parents will get 4 weeks of paid leave. During those paid days off, employees will get 100 percent of their paychecks.
Cooper said the new paid plan has an estimated cost of $3.5 million, but he said his cabinet agencies believe they will be able to absorb that cost without much trouble. Cooper also said he believes paid parental leave will actually end up being something that saves tax payers money (by helping the government recruit the best employees and by taking stress off of social safety nets that families might otherwise have to use).
Effective September 1, state employees of any North Carolina department, agency, board or commission under the oversight of the governor will receive eight weeks of paid parental leave after giving birth or four weeks of paid parental leave after a partner gives birth or to bond with and care for a child in the event of adoption, foster care or other legal placement of a child. Parents will receive 100 percent of their regular pay while on parental leave, the governor’s office said. […]”
Paid parental leave is something Democrats and some Republicans would like to see passed into law, not just for state employees, but laws mandating that all private businesses of a certain size must provide. To say that is an economic burden would be an understatement. Not only would a business have pay the employee on leave (and thus not producing anything), but they also have to pay a replacement employee to do that work.
Cooper states that spending another $3.5 million of taxpayers’ money to fund this parental paid leave will actually save taxpayers money. Confused? That’s because it doesn’t make any sense.
He cites attracting better employees and taking pressure off of other social programs, but government is not a productive enterprise where better workers make for a better bottom line. For the most part, government is a necessarily non-productive endeavor (in an economic sense), taking taxpayer money to fund ever growing regulations and bureaucracies to further burden businesses and taxpayers.
Further, taking pressure off of different social programs by creating, in effect, a new one for state employees does not save taxpayers money inasmuch as it shifts costs from one government program to another.
While time with newborn children is undoubtedly important and beneficial, the economic truths of implementing such Big Government policies seem to escape those that promote large expansions of paid leave, whether in the public or private sector. Private business owners are free to implement such policies, and they may even find benefits from treating parental employees so well, but that is their private business that operates in a market and exists for the purpose of profit. What Cooper just did is unilaterally ring up taxpayers for millions of dollars of extra government spending every year, and he bypassed the legislature to do it.
Notably, it’s worth mentioning that Cooper’s (and the Democrats’) emphasis on family and the benefits of paid leave — the advantages and value babies and parents receive from mothers and fathers bonding with their newborn children — appears to stand in stark contrast to their political positions on the very lives of those children when in the womb.
Or outside the womb, for that matter. Cooper, Thursday beaming at his own taxpayer-funded compassion for parents and newborns and how much precious value they represent, mere weeks ago proudly vetoed the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Act.