Paid Leave Takes a Step Forward

Date: February 21, 2019

A proposal has passed the Senate that some thought would never see the light of day in Indiana.

We knew it would happen … and now it has.

A proposal has passed the Senate that some thought would never see the light of day in ruby-red, land of super-majorities, small government Indiana. Pro-small business legislators have been caught napping. What am I talking about? Paid leave.

Paid leave is an issue small business owners have strongly opposed in numerous NFIB Member Ballots. Twenty-one Republicans and nine Democrats voted for Senate Bill 496. Yes, you read that correctly. Twenty-one Republicans voted for legislation that would eventually establish a “voluntary” Paid leave program in the state of Indiana.

Voluntary? Paid leave is voluntary now; let’s call this what it is.

This bill is a perfect example of the camel’s nose under the tent. It calls for the Department of Insurance  to design a program (AKA more government) that employees and employers can pay into. What happens when not enough people sign up? You guessed it. This voluntary program will then morph into a mandate—a mandate to pay leave for 12 weeks. What this proposal assumes is that businesses won’t offer paid leave unless there is a state-run program. What we know is that many small businesses already offer paid leave and yes, they voluntarily do so.

When I saw the vote count this week, for a moment I thought I was in California. Our State Senate had fallen for the siren song that this is merely voluntary and big government can do a better job managing your business than you can.

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