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Dear Mr. Secretary: Paid Leave Would be a Game Changer

Editor’s note: Kevin Jesequel is a dad from Oregon who wrote to Secretary Tom Perez about the need for paid leave. Here is his letter. Read letters from other dads here Dear Mr. Secretary, My name is Kevin Jesequel and I am an electrician. I live in Oregon with my wife and our four children. Our oldest is 15 and our youngest just turned 1. Being in the construction industry means that work isn’t steady or reliable for me and my family, so when there is work, I can’t afford to take any time off. When my youngest was born early in 2015, I couldn’t afford to take more than a couple of days to be with her and my family. Kevin and his family The medical bills for the birth were high. My wife and I were truly worried about how we would make ends meet, cover the expensive bills and still be able to make time for our whole family to be together without constantly stressing about money. On top of our financial fears, my wife had a difficult recovery – she could hardly walk for nearly a week after, and it was really hard for her to take care of the baby by herself. It would have made a big difference for our whole family if I could have been home to help. Giving men the option for paid family leave would change the whole dynamic of families. It would allow for fathers to build a strong bond right from the start, and it helps to level the playing field in the workplace because both men and women would be expected to take time off for a baby or other family needs. It would also change children’s lives, because their father could be more involved. Many men like myself want to take time off from work to care for their families, but are unable to do so because of finances and the fear of losing our jobs. That’s why I am excited that Oregon is considering family and medical leave insurance legislation – it would be a game changer for families like mine. Sincerely, Kevin Jesequel We want to hear from other dads (and moms): How would having paid family leave make a difference for your family? If you have paid leave already, how does it help you now? Share your story at


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When the government requires businesses to pay for people to take time off, who pays for the replacement worker while that employee is off? The cost is more than double for the work being done because the new person will not likely be sufficiently trained. Customers are not willing to pay more for a product to cover such events. Many companies offer vacation pay. It seems more reasonable for individuals who feel that their employer is being unfair, to simply find work elsewhere, or even start their own company. Starting a company would definitely give a person a new perspective on government intrusion on businesses.

In reply to by Penny Nirider (not verified)

So you're okay with eliminating any job protection/rights/coverage/benefits related to maternity leave, right?

In reply to by Penny Nirider (not verified)

"It seems more reasonable for individuals who feel that their employer is being unfair, to simply find work elsewhere, or even start their own company. " Yes of course...if it were only that simple...

In reply to by Penny Nirider (not verified)

Literally every other country in the world (besides us and Papua New Guinea) has managed to figure out how to make paid family leave a reality for their citizens. Only 13% of businesses in America offer any paid time off for maternity, so it's not likely to just go find a new job if you feel that the business you work for is unfair. People have families, and all children must be taken care of - this is the way human society works and our business culture needs to evolve to accept that fact. In our country now, few jobs pay well enough to support a family on one income so both parents must work. Family leave in America is an issue that is long overdue to be addressed.
Paid leave for birthdays would be nice. Each parent should have the birthday of every family memeber off with pay. And the first day of school and the last day of school. And what about the illness of a pet? Imagine the bonds that parents could build if they didn't have to worry about that pesky work thing. And who will cover the cost of food for this new child? And clothing and college expenses? We need employers to take care of every expense that comes from the life decisions their employees make. There is no reason to stop at paid leave! Personal responsibility and independence out the window. Government doing and forcing others to do for us is the way! Yes these are the solutions our government should be forcing upon, what is for a short time, privat enterprise. This is what a government is for! It's in the Constitution isn't it? If not, we can continue to ignore that.

In reply to by Ronald Webster (not verified)

Amen - As Milton Friedman once said "there is no free lunch" There is a cost to everything. Gov't forced legislation to give something to someone means that it needs to take from another in order to give it.
I like Kevin's note about leveling the playing field. Sometimes women will be passed over for jobs because they're in the "child bearing" years. Also, women still get paid less overall than men, and part of the excuse I hear is that the ladies take more time off to care for children (sick from school etc.). Having fathers be able to equally share that burden (whether with vacation time or family leave etc.) would absolutely help level the playing field.

In reply to by Heather (not verified)

So you have a disagreement with employers attempting to hire people they believe to be the most reliable from a pool of applicants available to them? Your solution is to make sure no one they hire will be reliable to them? Any company that thinks Family Leave is best for them can impliment it today. Any family can set aside some portion of their earnings in the event a bread winner wants or needs to take time off away from work (man or woman, they decide) for any reason. Both are reasonalble approaches that a free people in a free market system can make. If you force employers to provide this benefit, some percentage, small or large, will not survive the implimentation. More people out of work. Government growing again to manage one more unconstitutional government management of our private enterprise. Our Gov't debt has doubled in the past 8 years. Is this the direction we should continue to push into?
I agree with Ronald;"Paid leave for birthdays would be nice. Each parent should have the birthday of every family memeber off with pay. " پارتیشن