Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Idiots in Congress

You really need to read and consider one of the front page articles from Monday's News-Sentinel. I could not find the article on the "new and improved NS website"; however, I did not look very hard. I found it at The Buffalo News:
<http://www.buffalonews.com/nationalworld/national/story/139925.html>

If the Democrats pass some of the items in this article they will lose a few more moderates. If the Republicans pass some of the items listed in this bill they will also lose some support.

The Family Medical Leave Act was passed in 1993. More can be learned here:
<http://www.dol.gov/esa/whd/fmla/>

Too make a long story short the FMLA requires:

Employers who employ 50 or more people to grant eligible employees up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for one or more of the following reasons:

1. For the birth and care of the newborn child of the employee.
2. For placement with the employee of a son or daughter for adoption or foster care.
3. To care for an immediate family member (spouse, child, or parent) with a serious health condition. OR
4. To take medical leave when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

I overall thought that FMLA was a decent bill when passed.

My main problem with it is that employees can take time off work and not inform their employers of their absence until two days after the absence. This is absurd and should be changed at once. How do you expect an employer to operate a business if an employee can take Monday off work without informing anyone about it until Wednesday? Stupid, stupid, stupid.

My other main problem with it is the minimum number of employees. I would have rather seen 100 employees as the minimum number.

Please read the article and consider the following excerpts:

"Before leaving Washington for its August recess the Senate approved a plan that would allow the relatives of wounded soldiers to take up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave to care for them."

Good grief. I am a military veteran and I support those on active duty, in the reserves, in the National Guard, and those who have served in the past. That being said, I think this proposal goes too far. Under the FMLA you can already take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to family members. That is enough.

Even worse for America "A Senate bill would provide up to eight weeks of PAID leave for workers who need time off for a birth or adoption of children."

Now I love kids and my wife and I have chosen work so that we can spend a lot of time with our children. We are both self-employed and this allows us to schedule time with our children. I am completely against providing eight weeks of paid leave to adopt or have children. It is absurd.

"More narrowly crafted bills in the House and Senate would provide eight weeks of paid parental leave for Federal workers."

The last thing we need to do is to give Federal workers more benefits that are not available in the private sector. By giving this paid leave this will cause Federal agencies to hire even more workers. We do not need more Federal employees.

"Another Senate bill would require employers who have 15 or more employees to provide each of them with at least seven paid sick days to address their medical needs or the needs of their families."

So the FMLA concerns employers with 50 or more employees and these morons want to make a law that effects employers with 15 or more employees? Here is an idea; lets keep the number at 50 so the laws are consistent. Here is another idea, let the free market work and let employers and their employees set their own policies.

"A June study by the Department of Labor concluded that in 2005 alone up to 17% of the work force took unpaid leave through the FMLA."

I did not know that 17% of our entire workforce eligible for the FMLA used it. That is amazing.

"Verizon said 44% of the workers in its Florida network centers had medical certifications allowing them to take leave."

I find this amazing. This leads me to believe that the FMLA is being abused. How on Earth could 44% of their Florida workforce be eligible to utilize the FMLA?

"The Postal Service reported that 18% of its 620,000 employees took leave last year."

Another staggering number.

"In particular, companies complained that the law allows workers to wait until two days after absences to advise their employers of the need to take leave."

This is 100% wrong and the law should be changed immediately.

We are becoming a little more Socialist each and every day.

We should not strive to be more like France. The French system does not work. The new French President is trying to remove some of their Socialist policies...

Why is America trying to emulate a failed system?

Good Grief.

What do you think about expanding the FMLA?

Mike Sylvester

2 comments:

Doug H. Sec, Lib Pty AC said...

Mike,

I have mixed feelings about this law. On the one hand I fully support businesses and understand their need to have a dependable workforce to provide products and services to the public. On the other hand I would like to think that we are decent and understanding human beings who don't place the quest for profit as the "end all" and "be all" of our society. We should make money to enjoy life, NOT live to make money.

On a technical point I believe that I read somewhere years ago that a business w/ less than 50 employees is considered a small business. I don't know whether this is a legal definition or more of a "standard" definition, but I would guess that is why they drew the line at 50.

My grandmother recently died. My mother was able to use FMLA to go to Decatur every day and be with her in the hospital. It was a great relief to my mother who works at ITT to not have to worry about losing her job. I think that it was reasonable in this case.

I think the goal of FMLA is and was laudable. It compels a decent treatment of the worker whether the employer is a decent person or a horrible jackass.

I completely agree with your concerns. I have come to the conclusion that many stupid laws and rules started out as decent "liberal" reforms that have been taken over the years to an extreme and ridiculous interpretation.

Regarding the Verizon situation. Consider that Florida has something we don't: Hurricanes. It is my guess that:

#1) Hurricane hits;
#2) Person in hurricane path gets injured;
#3) Verizon employee uses FMLA to help family member "injured" by hurricane.

This is just a guess on my part.

I don't have a huge problem with the 2 day rule. I don't believe it would cause a massive strain on a company to miss an employee for 2 whole days without an explanation when in fact they would still be obligated to miss him/her with an explanation. After all, it isn't saying the employee MUST wait 2 days, just that they are allowed to. I imagine some situation where a close family member takes ill suddenly across country and the worried employee has to catch an emergency flight. They are worrying about all sorts of things. Of course, this doesn't mean that the employee shouldn't show some decency toward the employer and MUST NOT call, just that if they overlook it for 48 hours they won't be in trouble.

The problem boils down to this: A few jerk employers and a few lazy employees create the apparent need for unions and laws. This makes the rest of us reasonable people holding the bag.

Respectfully,

Doug Horner

Tim Zank said...

Doug, your last paragraph sums it up perfectly.