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‘Family leave’ can be beneficial

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Imagine your elderly mother is lying in bed at home with the flu. She is so ill you need to take time off work to take care of her. Your pay will be cut for you to go home to be there for her — just one more inconvenience you need.

That was the past.

Just a few weeks ago, Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill allowing employees to take time off for family leave-and they will get partially paid for up to six weeks. Now, you can stay home with dear ol’ mom and risk your health, but at least you will still be getting paid.

So why are people opposed to this great advance in the workplace? They say that this particular issue is not worth having money taken out of their paychecks. Paid family leave should be looked at as a type of insurance because it operates in the same manner. Money is taken out of checks, put into a fund, and who ever needs it for an emergency can pull out of it. People worried about this should stop being so cheap because one day it just might come in handy.

Opponents of the bill also say that some workers will abuse this privilege.

While this may be true, if employees who allow their workers to take family leave are strict and keep a close eye on them, things should be fine. For the most part, however, people will abuse this privilege.

So now, because Davis signed this bill — which goes into effect in 2004 — he is getting major slack from small businesses who can not afford to have employees take more time off with pay. He is also getting criticism from his opponent for governor, Bill Simon, Jr.

Davis’ thoughts were in the right place. Simon’s position — to keep family leave optional to the individual employer — means the employee in need loses.

Some people are just cheap, plain and simple — they do not want corporations or the state taking any more out of their checks than they usually do for taxes.

Understandable, yes, but why wouldn’t you want time for family leave? It is so reassuring to have a few weeks during the year to take off in the event of an emergency. Unfortunately there are people who can not accept change; they do not want to conform to anything different that might actually benefit them. These are the same people who are going to be stressing when they are forced to stay at home with dear ol’ mom when she’s sick in bed with the flu — without pay.

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