Independent Women's Voice Testimony in Opposition to Colorado S.B. 188, the FAMLI Act
Hadley Heath Manning
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
INDEPENDENT WOMEN’S VOICE TESTIMONY IN OPPOSITION TO COLORADO S.B. 188, THE FAMLI ACT
(Washington, D.C.) – TOday, Independent Women’s Voice Policy Director Hadley Heath Manning sent testimony to the Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee in opposition to Senate Bill 188, the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Act.
"Women, in particular, should be concerned about the FAMLI Act: In other countries with generous family leave pay-replacement programs, we see larger gender wage gaps and larger gaps in the number of women working in managerial positions.” – Hadley Heath Manning
Date: Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Testimony to the Colorado General Assembly
Senate Business, Labor, and Technology Committee
Hadley Heath Manning
Policy Director, Independent Women's Voice
Thank you. Today I’m speaking on behalf of Independent Women’s Voice, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing and promoting policies that aren’t just well-intended but actually enhance people’s freedoms, choices and opportunities. IWV and our sister organization Independent Women’s Forum have thoughtfully advanced several policy solutions geared toward expanding access to paid family leave and I’m happy to share about a couple of those ideas here.
I’ve also taken two family leaves myself in the last three years, so I understand the importance of this issue on a very personal level!
Independent Women’s Voice strongly opposes S.B. 188, the FAMLI Act, which would create a state-run entitlement or insurance program. The ever-increasing diversity of our workplaces, our workforce, and our families should caution against a one-size-fits-all solution for paid family leave.
Women, in particular, should be concerned about the FAMLI Act: In other countries with generous family leave pay-replacement programs, we see larger gender wage gaps and larger gaps in the number of women working in managerial positions.
Furthermore a state-run entitlement program for paid leave would displace the myriad private arrangements that so many Colorado women have negotiated for themselves with their employers. Employers will not be as willing to offer paid leave or other flexible work arrangements if the state provides a new benefit for family and medical leave (and collects taxes from businesses in order to do so).
It’s understandable that lawmakers want to help families – particularly low-income families – who are least likely to have access to paid time off from work. However, evidence from similar programs suggests that while low-income workers bear the tax burden associated with paid-leave programs, these programs ultimately create a wealth transfer to high-income families, who are more likely to enjoy the leave benefits and to take longer leaves.
I strongly urge lawmakers on this committee to consider the best ways to expand access to paid family leave for those Coloradans who need it. But we should take care not to do harm to economic opportunities or existing arrangements, as the FAMLI Act would do.
We should seek to encourage, not discourage, private-sector solutions, and we should offer all workers the greatest amount of freedom and flexibility when it comes to family leave. Please reject this misguided proposal that would hurt Colorado's workers and families. Thank you.