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Distributor's Link Magazine Spring 2019 / Vol 42 No2


28 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK Jim Truesdell James Truesdell is President of Brauer Supply Company, a distributor of specialty fasteners, insulation, air filtration, and air conditioning with headquarters in St. Louis. Mr. Truesdell is adjunct professor at Saint Louis University and Webster University. An attorney and frequently published writer, he is the author of “Total Quality Management: Reports From the Front Lines”. SEEKING COMMON GROUND ON PAID FAMILY LEAVE Since the Family and Medical Leave Act was passed in the 1990’s momentum has been steadily building calling for leave to actually be with paid time off, not just a period of absence with job protection built in. That idea is now finding support on both sides of the political aisle and among an ever growing number of business people. A lot has changed over the years. The make-up of the workforce has changed as have the career trajectories of women. The composition of working families has changed. The cost of quality childcare has gone straight up. What once was a debate between those just seeking more government entitlements on one side and practical business people and budget balancers on the other has moved to more of a consensus that a solution needs to be found. But it needs to be crafted in a way that makes reasonable funding possible. As a result we are seeing business people implement voluntary programs while conservative lawmakers are joining the chorus of those proposing paid plans. But these proposals often have a more practical approach when it comes to paying for the benefit. Not everyone sees it as fair that the CONTRIBUTOR ARTICLE entrepreneur and business operator should pick up the tab for our social programs. Nor does our federal budget have room for piling on one more expensive entitlement without adding to unpopular tax burdens. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Representative Ann Wagner of Missouri recently unveiled the Economic Security for New Parents Act which has found followers and detractors on both sides of the aisle. It recognizes the growing need to provide support for families as they bring new lives into the world, but finds its money in the social security fund which the working parent can choose to “spend” to take salary while at home with the new child by deferring the start of their eventual retirement by a modest period. It recognizes that social security funds are indeed a property of the worker who has earned them and who should be able to make his or her own decision about when to draw them. This is, of course, running into opposition from those who have always envisioned paid leave as an employer obligation or as an additional layer of government provided benefits. CONTINUED ON PAGE 110


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