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Saturday, August 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Matter of Opinion

Family Leave: The Other Side

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville and Rep. Lynn Schindler, R-Otis Orchards, visited with the editorial board today. They talked about the budget mostly. But we did have a good conversation about the $250 family leave stipend, guaranteed for five weeks for parents of newborns and adopted babies. They both voted against it. Here are some of their reasons.

Mark Schoesler: "I have a friend who is a county commissioner in a county I don't represent, a smaller county. She said, 'We've stretched our payroll as far as we can. We don't know how we'd get the work done if people were taking six weeks here and there. We can't afford to cover multiple positions at one time. We're just getting by.'

"When you have a key person leave in one department for six weeks and you have to keep it open, there are some real pitfalls to this. It was not well thought out."

Lynn Schindler: "It will cost $18 million to administer. And they are talking about 90 to 92 new employees at the state level to administer that program. If you have a small business company and one goes out for five weeks, can you fill the hole with the other employees? Maybe not.

"So if you hire a temporary employee to fill that hole and then when that person comes back, you lay off the temp. Then they can go and apply for unemployment insurance. You get two hits. You’re losing an employee. You hire a temp and your L&I unemployment gets hit because you hired someone and laid them off. So your rates go up."

(Rebecca Nappi photos/The Spokesman-Review)

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