Monday, August 03, 2015

More on paid family leave debate, and on "creative destruction" of old school jobs

Well, I forgot to bring my Kindle or  book with me Sunday on the Metro, and wound up picking up a couple of magazines at BN (Landmark E Street has no cellular access inside). 
A couple of stories on matters that I have discussed before showed up.  One of these was in a curious periodical “In these Times”, Aug. 2015, p. 18, “The real war on families”, by Sharon Lerner.  It claims that 25% of all employed mothers in the U.S. come back to work within two weeks of giving birth.  The link is here  but there is a strict paywall (in a curious twist of Internet policy, this publication says it never posts some content free on line -- which would make it unlikely to spread by Facebook and Twitter to more readers -- why keep it scarce?). 

The article goes on to argue for (mandatory) paid parental leave (especially for mothers) and says that the US is one of few countries (all the others are backwater) that doesn’t require it. 
One of the main arguments against mandatory paid leave is that in salaried workplaces, the childless wind up working more hours without pay to support other people’s children (that is, sex).  But the people who have to come back to work quickly, according to the narrative in the article, would be mostly low income hourly, often minimum wage. 

In IT, many of the jobs are W-2 hourly, and people simply don’t get paid except when they work.  Some personnel companies do keep their consultants on a salary, and would have a big headache managing a mandatory paid family leave policy, at least until associates had been with the firm for a few years.

Derek Thompson has a long article in “The Atlantic”, “The End of Work”, with the cover caption, “Technology will soon erase millions of jobs;  could that be a good thing?” link here.  Much of the article deals with Youngstown, Ohio (which my family used to on my boyhood trips to Ohio when ending the Pennsylvania Turnpike).  Thompson distinguishes among “jobs”, “careers” and “callings”.  He talks about the pretend-jobs in Europe (especially France), similar to what the government did here during the FDR days.  I guess my news and review blogging activity in retirement is a “calling”. 

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