Carly Fiorina made a case for her stance against federally mandated maternity leave Thursday, doubling down on a position her critics say is a losing issue with voters.
Mandating paid maternity leave will cost women jobs, she wrote in a Huffington Post op-ed:
In other countries, these mandates have discouraged employers from hiring and promoting women. After such mandates were in place in Spain, companies were 6 percent less likely to hire women, 37 percent less likely to promote them, and 45 percent more likely to fire them. Even the liberal Center for American Progress has said that, with these policies, ‘it becomes much easier to justify discrimination.’
And who will pay for federally mandated leave? Should we borrow more money from China that our grandchildren will have to pay off with interest? Cut programs like social security or medicare? Force employers to pay for it? Small and community businesses are the engine of our economy. They create two thirds of the new jobs and employ half our people. If we simply pass more regulations and pass more costs onto them, they will hire fewer people and create fewer jobs, which means our economy slows down at a time when most Americans need it to speed up.
The op-ed is in part a response to Democrat Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who pounced after Fiorina came out against mandated paid leave on CNN Sunday. “I think it will overwhelmingly [hurt] her with both male and female Republican voters because overwhelmingly, they all support paid leave,” Gillibrand told Fortune in an interview published Tuesday.
“She may just not be aware, she may be in her own world, her own bubble where she can afford child care, she can afford support when she needs it, but her low-wage worker can’t,” she added.
Gillibrand introduced legislation this year that would require employers to provide and pay in part for mandated maternity leave.
“When a low-wage worker cannot even have a sick day or a paid leave day after the birth of an infant, she is far more likely to go on assistance, public assistance. So from [Fiorina’s] perspective, she would rather the rest of us, taxpayers, pay for her employees than her pay for her employees—and that’s wrong.”
Fiorina fired back in the op-ed, calling it “hypocritical” for politicians running an incompetent federal government to dictate policy to small businesses: “It also strikes me as more than a little hypocritical for this federal government — a bloated, inept, corrupt bureaucracy that takes on more and more spending but has been falling down on its most basic functions for decades (TSA? Border security? Cyber threats?) — to dictate to small businesses how they should be run.”
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