Mandated family leave time

by winemama

New York Just Created a Revolutionary New Family-Leave Policy

(Fixed the link.)

Your thoughts?

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161 thoughts on “Mandated family leave time

  1. “It’s seems worth noting that an issue that has been considered third-rail-feminist radicalism for decades, so improbable when it is described as “maternity leave” that we wave it off as a pipe dream, can gain steam when political men — Barack Obama, Andrew Cuomo, Joe Biden — put their brawn behind it, and begin to describe the ways in which men might benefit. It’s key to understanding how “women’s issues” can become, simply, issues.”

    What s/he said.

  2. I have no quarrel with the concept, but would like to see the actuarial calculations behind the claim that it will cost the average employee only a dollar a week….

  3. I hope there is a Department of Enforcement to protect the jobs of all the nannies of NYC who need to stay home on short notice to care for their family members.

  4. I hope there is a Department of Enforcement to protect the jobs of all the nannies of NYC who need to stay home on short notice to care for their family members.

    Wouldn’t that be handled by a civil suit?

  5. The idea is great, but I question how the administration will work. Also, I wonder the long term effects if, say a man, takes leave for a newborn. Will it hurt his career trajectory? Maternity leave already negatively effects women in a lot of situations.

  6. Rhett – If handled like unemployment insurance, should be about the same level of hassle as that (which when I employed my nanny was not that bad). Given NYs relatively recent domestic workers laws and this law, I’d imagine more nannies (and the like) would work through agencies (and on the books) in the future.

    I like the idea and definitely think its one worth testing out to see how it goes.

  7. Both DH and I took RI’s temporary care insurance. It’s operated by the same office that brings us State TDI. Same app different check box.

    It was a lifesaver. It allowed us to extend savings so DH could take more unpaid time. It hasn’t (so far) hurt his career. He got a raise and promotion shortly after returning. My career is too new to say (I’ve only been with my employer 1.5 years, I was with them 6 months when I took leave).

    I think this is fantastic. More states should follow. I’d love if RI expanded.

  8. “I wonder the long term effects if, say a man, takes leave for a newborn. Will it hurt his career trajectory?”

    I wonder too, but I suspect it helps both genders for it to be more normal. My current company gives 2 paid weeks paternity leave for new fathers, and it has become routine for dads to take it at all levels. It’s pretty great to see how it quickly became the norm for people to say “Oh, he’s on paternity leave” with no trace of eye rolling.

  9. I think making leave mandatory is a great thing – like LfB quoted above, when men take over an issue and it becomes an “issue” instead of a “women’s issue”, then presto change-o, it’s suddenly normalized.

  10. I had vacation leave, sick leave, and the option of unpaid leave if those weren’t enough to cover, so I am JELLY of all those getting actual maternity leave. But still supportive of it as a policy, I try not to be one of the crabs in the bucket.

  11. Workplaces have evolved in time on this issue. Changing the name from maternity leave to family leave and covering more situations has definitely helped.
    The career trajectory issue still rankles. I took six weeks off with my first kid. In that time the organization changed and when I went back, I reported to a different manager. The situation went downhill and I had to find a new job. Similar re-orgs have happenned to my colleagues who have returned from maternity leave. They need to prove themselves to a different set of people.

  12. What do you think of Clinton’s comment
    ” less than two years ago, when Hillary Clinton was asked by Christiane Amanpour about whether or not “paid maternity leave” should be mandated federally, Clinton demurred, comparing it to the fight over raising the minimum wage and predicting that while “eventually” paid leave “should be” a reality, “I don’t think, politically, we could get it done now.”

  13. I don’t think legislation like this will help the career trajectories of professionals. This legislation helps people for whom $800/week makes a difference between staying home with your newborn for a couple months or not.

    With the constant layoffs of the technology world, it’s an open secret that taking advantage of a policy like this makes you more likely to wind up on the layoff list, because you are evaluated on your “flexibility” (can you fly to Asia to troubleshoot a problem on short notice?) and “commitment”. I suspect investment banking is another sector where your career trajectory isn’t helped by using the leave policies established by law.

  14. I think that HRC is right that passing this type of legislation nationally is a way different question than passing it in New York.

    The flyover states are trying to keep jobs from going overseas. This adds not just costs to pay workers while they’re on leave, but will likely increase the amount of work people miss, which will cause some visible costs and some invisible costs, such as when relatives have to substitute for an elderly parent’s paid caregiver.

    To the extent I object to the legislation, it’s because it imposes a cost on largish businesses that is unlikely to be paid by people employing domestic help, mostly because I suspect enforcement against individuals will be limited.

    It’s kind of like the article I saw in a Seattle newspaper about the effects of a $15 minimum wage on licensed childcare centers. A few centers will be able to survive with the higher minimum wage, but some will close and children will go to licensed or unlicensed home care or their parents will stop working, since the $15 minimum wage can’t be effectively applied to home childcare providers.

  15. I was looking for some more of the fine print regarding the uses of this not related to childbirth or adoption:

    Paid leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition, includes leave to care for a child, parent, grandchild, grandparent, spouse or domestic partner. The legislation allows employers to establish rules limiting employees from receiving paid leave benefits for the care of the same family member at the same time as another employee.

    How does one define “serious health condition”? And do you just get to use this once per patient, or can you use it for 12 weeks one year, and if the cancer comes back the next year, 12 more weeks?

  16. It would be interesting to hear from Californians on how their version has been working, aside from the “studies have shown” perspective:

    “But in California, where up to six weeks of paid leave has now been the mandate for more than a decade, studies have shown that around 93 percent of employers report positive or neutral effects on employee turnover, 91 percent positive or neutral effect on profitability or performance, and 98 percent positive or neutral effect on employee morale.”

    (I never did get the hang of how to italicize.)

  17. http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-paid-family-leave-california-20160411-story.html

    As in New York, this is a benefit to help “ordinary Californians.” I think I support it.

    The problem of career advancement for high level professionals with family obligations is a different question. Mr WCE fulfilled his interviewing obligations (by telephone from home) during his paternity leave with Baby WCE and reassured his manager (a mom with a baby 3 months older than Baby WCE) that he didn’t feel any pressure to do so from her and in fact would continue to cover for her as she extended her maternity leave and then returned to work part-time. As he explained, “I’m not the one getting up every 2-3 hr to nurse our baby.”

    But this is why we probably wouldn’t say we’re in favor of “gender equality”. He gives, and I have received, accommodation for being the mom of a newborn.

  18. I don’t think legislation like this will help the career trajectories of professionals. This legislation helps people for whom $800/week makes a difference between staying home with your newborn for a couple months or not.

    How much does a 27 year old accountant at PwC make? $65k? $800/week could totally make taking leave doable.

  19. “It’s seems worth noting that an issue that has been considered third-rail-feminist radicalism for decades, so improbable when it is described as “maternity leave” that we wave it off as a pipe dream, can gain steam when political men — Barack Obama, Andrew Cuomo, Joe Biden — put their brawn behind it, and begin to describe the ways in which men might benefit. It’s key to understanding how “women’s issues” can become, simply, issues.”

    This brings to mind an early RBG success:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weinberger_v._Wiesenfeld

  20. “How does one define “serious health condition”? And do you just get to use this once per patient, or can you use it for 12 weeks one year, and if the cancer comes back the next year, 12 more weeks?”

    This makes me wonder about FMLA and twins/triplets/etc. If you have twins, do you get to take 24 weeks?

  21. “Maternity leave already negatively effects women in a lot of situations.”

    I’m guessing you really meant, “Maternity leave already negatively affects women in a lot of situations.”

    Writing “effects” rather than “affects” is not grammatically incorrect, but makes the meaning of the sentence quite different.

  22. So to answer my own questions, I went to the text of the law.

    As to what constitutes a medical condition:

    “Serious health condition” means an illness, injury, impairment,
    or physical or mental condition that involves inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential health care facility, continuing treatment or continuing supervision by a health care provider. Continuing super-vision by a health care provider includes a period of incapacity which is permanent or long term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective where the family member is under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider.

    Regarding subsequent uses for the same patient, it would appear that you have to wait at least three months for non-consecutive use:

    Family leave benefits shall be payable to an eligible employee for the first full day when family leave is required and there-after during the continuance of the need for family leave, subject to the limitations as to maximum and minimum amounts and duration and other conditions and limitations in this section and in sections two hundred five and two hundred six of this article. Successive periods of disabil-ity or family leave caused by the same or related injury or sickness shall be deemed a single period of disability or family leave only if separated by less than three months.

    But you still can not exceed 12 weeks in any 52-week period:

    No employee shall be entitled to family leave benefits under this article:
    (a) For more than twelve weeks, or the maximum duration permitted as
    set forth in paragraph (a) of subdivision two of section two hundred
    four of this article, during a period of fifty-two consecutive calendar weeks

  23. “With the constant layoffs of the technology world, it’s an open secret that taking advantage of a policy like this makes you more likely to wind up on the layoff list, because you are evaluated on your “flexibility” (can you fly to Asia to troubleshoot a problem on short notice?) and “commitment”.”

    But at least they get paid during their time off. My guess is that taking unpaid leave (e.g., FMLA) would similarly put them on the layoff list.

  24. My MIL (admin assistant to a research scientist manager) benefitted from FMLA when my FIL was fighting cancer. But the short notice at which she needed to take leave and the frequency meant that her manager ended up doing his own administrative work, on top of his own work. He was gracious about it.

    I can definitely see where an extra $5-$10k during a maternity leave would be helpful but I imagine most professionals have at least that in savings. It’s kind of like my thought when people dealing with infertility tell me there’s “no way” they could save $10-$20k for a cycle (or a guaranteed successful cycle, ~$20k) of IVF. I think to myself, “Then how do you think you would afford childcare for infant twins if your treatment is successful?”

  25. “an extra $5-$10k during a maternity leave would be helpful but I imagine most professionals have at least that in savings”

    I don’t think so.

  26. @Finn – I debated about affect/effect and was going to google, but needed to run off to a meeting. Grammar is not my forte.

  27. “an extra $5-$10k during a maternity leave would be helpful but I imagine most professionals have at least that in savings”

    I don’t think so.”

    ^^Particularly not professionals of childbearing age.

  28. WCE – My sister had a baby last year and hadn’t been at work long enough to really build up sick/vacation time to cover maternity leave so she was back to work after six weeks. She and her husband make about $100K combined in a small midwestern city with a low cost of living. It still wasn’t financially feasible for her to take the full 12 weeks off that she was entitled to under FLMA. There’s just no way they have $5K to $10K saved (partly their faults of course but it does sound like money is tight).

  29. I think most *should* have that level of savings, but I wouldn’t think they actually do. Maternity leave has worked well here in that capacity for a lot of non-professional women. Most of the professionals I know in this area are at companies where they are given some significant amount of paid leave time, and they are already better situated than the average worker.

  30. Also, I have to say that we are cautious by nature. If we had $20K in the bank and were having a baby, the last thing we’d want to do is fully tap our savings so that when we went back to work and were paying for childcare, we had depleted our safety cushion. We can be the only ones who get superstitious about tapping into savings, can we?

  31. “an extra $5-$10k during a maternity leave would be helpful but I imagine most professionals have at least that in savings”

    At my former job, where I discussed finances with coworkers quite a bit, I believe this was the case among the engineers with whom I worked.

    It helped that most of my coworkers worked for some time before having kids.

  32. DH’s firm offers 16 weeks of paid maternity leave so I think Tulip is right that more and more companies are moving to generous leave policies for highly paid workers. It’s definitely the middle and lower classes that could benefit from this. I would think $1 per week would cover things with a big enough pool (all NY workers). I think I pay about $12 per month for my short term disability policy which covers four weeks of maternity leave at 60% of your salary.

  33. I know you’re probably right, but I find it hard to believe that a family with an income of $100k and no kids or one kid wouldn’t have $5-$10k set aside as part of their planning for a new baby. Our family is larger, with around that income when I’m not working, and we’ve had several occasions where medical bills have required that sort of expenditure. We also had expenses on that scale to visit my mom when she was sick and could have had more expenses, if my father and siblings weren’t so responsible.

    Maybe that’s why when someone asked me about restaurants in Bend, I had no answer, because I’m frugal otherwise.

  34. “I can definitely see where an extra $5-$10k during a maternity leave would be helpful but I imagine most professionals have at least that in savings. It’s kind of like my thought when people dealing with infertility tell me there’s “no way” they could save $10-$20k for a cycle (or a guaranteed successful cycle, ~$20k) of IVF. I think to myself, “Then how do you think you would afford childcare for infant twins if your treatment is successful?””

    WCE – You do bring up good points… I have a friend due in June with baby #2 who has said time and again how expensive 1 baby is and they don’t know how they will afford #2. My snark always says “maybe you shoulda kept your legs closed…”. But that’s not polite conversation.

    Thinking more broadly though…

    $5-10k savings – if a women is just out of college/grad school (so anywhere between 21 and 30), this is highly unlikely – particularly if she has loans or needed to take low-paid positions (i.e. internships or post docs).

    $10-20k for fertility vs daycare. My fertility clinic required $5k just to say hello if you needed IVF. This was outside of any insurance coverage. After that, you had to pay and they discouraged payment plans. You had to come up with the rest of the money pretty quick. Now daycare is a monthly expense. People don’t realize they’ve spent $10k in daycare until they add it up in Dec. Plus, most employers have the pre-tax deduction so there’s some cost-saving there.

    I’m pretty positive most people don’t think like you. You plan and organize your life. The vast majority of people fly by the seat of their pants.

  35. most people follow the advice “if you wait till you have the money to afford kids, you’ll never have kids”

    they find a way month to month but don’t have the savings set aside

  36. On the national level, I imagine it would be more politically palatable to simply offer a one-time, $7,500 refundable child tax credit for birth or adoption. Although this doesn’t address eldercare, it provides a benefit regardless of employment/SAHP status, and regardless of covered (W2) employee vs. 1099 contractor status. (Subject to phase-out with other deductions and exemptions, of course.)

    It would seem that the birth of a child should be at least as significant as the purchase of an electric car.

  37. “but I find it hard to believe that a family with an income of $100k and no kids or one kid wouldn’t have $5-$10k set aside as part of their planning for a new baby. ”

    I find this very easy. It all depends on where in the country you live, and what other debt you have. If you live below your means and carry little to no debt, you’re fine. But most people don’t think or live like that. They don’t plan for babies, they just happen.

  38. Also, with my federal tax credit plan, you could elect to receive your $7500 the same time you apply for your child’s Social Security card.

  39. For adoptions finalized in 2014, there is a federal adoption tax credit of up to $13,190 per child. The 2014 adoption tax credit is NOT a refundable credit, which means taxpayers can only get the credit refunded if they have federal income tax liability (see below).
    NACAC | Adoption Tax Credit
    https://www.nacac.org/taxcredit/taxcredit2014.html

  40. “Plus, most employers have the pre-tax deduction so there’s some cost-saving there.”

    Surprisingly to me, most of my current co-workers don’t take advantage of the pre-tax medical or dependent care savings accounts. IME, the dependent care accounts are especially easy to use because those costs are quite predictable, and the reimbursement application typically is just one or two lines.

  41. In NYS, Domestic workers who work full time after one year with the same employer are entitled to 2 days paid sick leave and 3 days PTO. Prorated for part time. Days are the regular hours per day, so if you have a nanny 3 days a week for 12 hours, her pay for the days off is 12 hours pay. Casual employees such as intermittent babysitters are not covered, even if they work enough in your home for you to have (technically) an employment tax obligation. I would assume the paid family leave law will operate similarly. There is an enforcement bureau, but the domestic worker needs to file a complaint if he/she is not treated fairly. There are other workplace protections as well, but enforcement requires the worker to file a complaint.

    If you have a paid domestic worker, you should treat him/her well. My cleaning is provided via an LLC by the owner and her employees. I leave out all my jewelry and watches and my bill stash is in the sock drawer. Because it is an LLC, she can send her employees when she is not available and she has multiple clients, there is no legal or tax domestic employee relationship for the clients. I am apparently one of only two of the clients who pays for cancellations because of vacation or for other reasons, or if the day falls on Christmas and we decide not to accept the offer of rescheduling. It boggles my mind.

  42. if you are living paycheck to paycheck, it is difficult to use the dependent care savings, the money came out of my paycheck, and then I had to pay for childcare and wait to be reimbursed (you are paying twice before you get the money back)

  43. Rhode, with regard to “They don’t plan for babies, they just happen,” I’m guilty as charged. With Baby WCE, the form says, “Was this pregnancy planned?”
    Me: No
    Medical person at high risk OB office: How long have you been with the baby’s father?
    Me: 17 years

  44. “They don’t plan for babies, they just happen.”

    Within DW’s and my circles, I think most kids were planned from the standpoint of intentionally stopping BC to conceive. Not many true “oops” kids, e.g., BC failure.

    Is this evidence that we travel among fellow totebaggers?

  45. I think the lack of savings in my sister’s case is her husband only started working two years ago. Before that he was in grad school and then he became a professor (not a ton of money there). Before this they were also living in NYC so high cost of living and they traveled. By the time he got out of his PhD program he was around 30. I think this is not atypical.

  46. Finn – I wish I could use our dependent care account. I would love to set up pre-tax stuff. But, in order to use it, we would have to pay my mom above the table. I think it would be more hassle to set her up as an independent care giver and then pay her (which would pay us, in effect, because she lives with us), just so I could lower my gross income.

    However, in a year (ish) DS will go to preschool. Sign me up then!

  47. We knew that childcare was expensive but how expensive it actually was, gave us sticker shock. When we had two in daycare it was still more painful. I would count myself among the folks who hadn’t accounted for the early days of child expenses. And this was with using hand me downs, a plain nursery, not going overboard with toys etc.

  48. There was an article released this week that shows that the average cost of child care is higher in at least 12 states than paying for college. Mass was #1 in expense, but the average that was used would have paid for about 3 – 4 months of childcare when I started over ten years ago.

    My brother and SIL would have been the family with an income of $100K, and no savings. My SIL worked for a small company and she returned to work within 6 weeks. They couldn’t afford to have her work without pay. My brother was fortunate to work or a tech company that provides on site childcare for infants. no wait list. He used this for his kids until they entered public school. Subsidized and Montessori preschool for the older kids. I know they would have needed help from my father if this daycare wasn’t available at his company.

  49. “Surprisingly to me, most of my current co-workers don’t take advantage of the pre-tax medical or dependent care savings accounts.”

    Their sitters are off the books.

  50. “I am apparently one of only two of the clients who pays for cancellations because of vacation or for other reasons, or if the day falls on Christmas and we decide not to accept the offer of rescheduling. It boggles my mind.”

    Similarly, our yard guy was quite surprised, and grateful, that I kept paying him through the months he couldn’t work on our yard because he’d had back surgery.

  51. I know you’re probably right, but I find it hard to believe that a family with an income of $100k and no kids or one kid wouldn’t have $5-$10k set aside as part of their planning for a new baby.

    You find it hard to believe that our 27yo PwC accountant who has just gotten married, bought a house and gotten pregnant doesn’t have an extra 5-10k sitting around?

  52. “Their sitters are off the books.”

    They don’t use the pre-tax plans even when they start sending their kids to preschool. I know many of the preschools they use are licensed because we looked into those same preschools for our kids.

  53. Mémé, one of my friends who recommended my cleaning lady paid the cleaning lady during the cleaning lady’s maternity leave. In my area, it sounds like the political extremes (some of the conservative Christian clients and some of the UMC liberal clients) who paid the cleaning lady during her maternity leave. This struck me as odd in a happy way.

  54. CoC– We have said, only half joking, that the most financially reckless thing we’ve ever done is have kids generally (and our third kid, specifically). We can take care of our kids, but the way life works is that if that were to change, we’d be on the receiving end of a whole lot of judgment for having had “more kids than we can afford.” Feels like you can’t win either way.

  55. “There was an article released this week that shows that the average cost of child care is higher in at least 12 states than paying for college. ”

    I think this is as it should be. I want smaller classes, more attention, and a more hands on lessons for my toddler than I would for a college student. I think child care providers are not generally paid enough, on a per hour basis.

  56. Rhode, don’t forget, and baby Rhode gets older, things like afterschool care and summer day camp will usually qualify for the pre-tax program as well.

  57. I don’t think you have to be paying above board to use a dependent care account. We often get reimbursed for the money we spend on our au pair. While that employment is technically legal, as there is no requirement to withhold Social Security or FICA on an employee on the J-1 visa. I doubt that the IRS is matching her Social Security number to her visa.

  58. 67% of our children were planned to the month of conception. The other was a birth control failure and was completely unplanned. As a couple of dual income professionals, it didn’t financially destroy us, but it was taxing. And still is.

  59. Rhett, I have a job because I am such a pessimistic contingency planner that my projects are pretty successful. My personal life is such that I’ve become even more scheduled and tightly wound in the past few years. It’s hard for me to remember that for normal people, life usually works out.

    I remind myself that there’s no way the next 10 years will involve delivering 5 babies and having two parents with terminal cancer so I can maybe ease up a bit.

  60. The firm I used to work at gives fathers 4 weeks paid leave and mothers 18 weeks. Kind of crazy and encourages more kids! When I worked, we had a fulltime nanny. We paid her vacation time and sick time, but I don’t know what I would have done had she needed a lot of time off for maternity leave or to care for a sick family member. I probably would have paid her for a short period of time but not more than 4-6 weeks. We currently have a regular person who comes 15-18 hrs/week and I would absolutely keep paying her if she needed an extended period off. She is awesome and an incredibly hard worker and is the only source of income. Our old nanny was married and had UMC parents. I probably shouldn’t discriminate based on that stuff.

  61. You find it hard to believe that our 27yo PwC accountant who has just gotten married, bought a house and gotten pregnant doesn’t have an extra 5-10k sitting around?

    Not to mention that even if she does have it, it sure wouldn’t hurt to get another $5-10k. You have to get pretty far up the wealth chain to get to people for whom this wouldn’t be a big help.

  62. Let’s imagine the average worker gets this benefit 3 times during his/her lifetime, once at the birth of each of his/her two children and once to care for a sick parent.

    The cost is roughly 12 weeks * $800 * 3 = $28,800 and, assuming a 30 year, full-time career, the contribution required will be $28,800/(30*52) = $18.46/week.

    That’s way different than the $1/week listed in the original article.

  63. Anon for this:

    When do boys really learn self control? We tried talking, taking away privileges, punishment, therapy, karate classes – the kid still cannot control his temper when annoyed. Got a call from school that he punched another boy in the eye because the boy was bothering him and wouldn’t stop.

    Is it really going to take him getting his butt kicked for him to learn self control?

  64. When our kids were the childcare expense age, we found that using the flex / dependent care savings account just meant that we couldn’t deduct the dependent care expenses on our tax return. In other words, you could get your tax savings through the FSA or through the deduction, but not both, and the FSA was more of a pain to use.

  65. Bothering him how? I think there’s a big difference between defending yourself, even if you overreact to do so, and lacking the self-control to not be an instigator.

  66. I took paid family leave in California. It is paid through the state disability insurance system. There is no direct cost to the employer, though there may be indirect costs with having someone out for that long. The paid leave at the time (as recently as 3.5 yrs ago) was up to 50% of your average income, but it was capped at some amount, so for me it was less than 50%, but still helpful. It looks like our governor recently signed a bill to increase the percentage for lower wage workers. Between paid family leave/SDI, FMLA (unpaid), and vacation (paid), I took about 4 months of leave for each of my two children. I don’t think taking the time off impacted my career negatively. Four months is a short time in a career that spans decades.

  67. Also – when you say “control his temper” – did he give the other kid one satisfying pop and then no more, or did he lose his mind and go apeshit on the other kid? Also an important distinction, in my observation.

  68. Anon: It also matters how old your DS is. If he’s 5, I’m less worried than if he’s 15.

  69. 3:06, does that happen a lot? because if it’s an unusual occurrence, maybe the punch really was as good a way as any to shut down a bad peer situation (and the school punishment will be a deterrent against deciding to apply that solution elsewhere).

    Also, are you absolutely sure he’s getting enough sleep? It’s so easy for them to get behind on that, and it’s hell on their self-control. I remember when my oldest was in 7th grade his general behavior, self-control, classroom focus, was all going to hell and we were thinking “ADD? Depression? Needs to see a psychologist?” but it turned out the idiot boy was getting up in the middle of the night to get on his computer because he felt he wasn’t getting enough screen time and he hadn’t yet realized that there’s more games and internet out there than you could consume even treating it as a full time job. Once he caught up on his sleep he miraculously was better.

  70. “Got a call from school that he punched another boy in the eye because the boy was bothering him and wouldn’t stop.”

    I bet he’ll stop now.

  71. bothering him = verbally taunting and did not stop when asked.

    Apparently one pop to the eye and then an adult intervened. The other kid went to the nurse.

    This unfortunately is the same kid he had an incident with last year (which I believe was accidental, the kid’s parents did not) which ended up in stitches for that kid.

    He seems to hold it together most of the year and then in April/ May lose it, with incidents like this.

  72. “because he felt he wasn’t getting enough screen time”

    We can relate to this. All electronics are in our bedroom at night; none in his. His sleep seems normal though.

    He is under 12.

  73. This new law is a much bigger deal for families that use nannies than any previous benefit like unemployment insurance, for instance. Trying to imagine myself employing a nanny in NY, the cost would be around $11,000 for 12 weeks of leave. But beyond the cost, the aggravation of finding a replacement, temporary or maybe not, would have been a major aggravation. Guaranteeing that the position would remain open would seem to be a big part of the challenge. It could put a major dent in the career trajectory of one of the parents, the mother most likely

  74. It sounds like the other kid likes taunting him to see if he can get him to snap. I’d be tempted to tell the other kid’s parents and the school that he got what he deserved.

  75. He seems to hold it together most of the year and then in April/ May lose it, with incidents like this.

    Sleep. That’s the time of year the kids are getting worn down as everything spirals up to the final test – final performance – final project due date – etc. If they’re not allowing themselves to catch up on rest when they can, they just get more and more tired till they can’t hold it together.

  76. And I tend to miss it with my own kids till I notice they’re falling asleep if we watch a family movie together with the lights out or that sort of thing.

  77. Maybe I am terrible, but one pop after consistent taunting seems like a pretty good logical consequence to me. I would be tempted to back the kid up.

  78. I’d suggest a lot of physical activity, as a stress reliever, and perhaps a male role model that is outside your nuclear family.

  79. Denver – yes, probably ADHD but no recommendation for medicine (yet). He gets social/behavioral therapy.

  80. I would be tempted to back the kid up.

    I totally agree. Don’t poke the bear.

  81. “When our kids were the childcare expense age, we found that using the flex / dependent care savings account just meant that we couldn’t deduct the dependent care expenses on our tax return.”

    It’s been awhile since I used the dependent care FSA, but my hazy recollection is that the FSA benefit was better.

    “the FSA was more of a pain to use.”

    While the medical FSA has been a pain, the dependent care FSA was much less so. Typically we only had one or two providers, so just one or two line items. For medical expenses, because of the floor for deductions, we’re not usually able to deduct our medical expenses, and lose most or all of the kids’ deductions getting up to their standard deduction amounts.

    There are other impacts of using the FSA. They reduce your income, so they can affect things like being able to contribute to a Roth IRA.

  82. Anon – age is important. In kinder/1st grade not uncommon but as they get into later elementary and are taught what bullying is, they should be coming to you, their teachers if there is an issue with other kids. Late elementary school authorities – little tolerance for punching. Verbal Taunting is bullying, IMO

  83. Anon, DS had a similar experience when he was in K. The kid who bothered him did not bother him after that, and DS has not had a history, before or since, that suggests he has a problem with impulse control.

    If this is an isolated incident, I would suggest monitoring his behavior and sleep needs closely, but consider the possibility that it was a rational reaction to a irrational provocation, and not necessarily a lack of impulse control.

  84. ““When our kids were the childcare expense age, we found that using the flex / dependent care savings account just meant that we couldn’t deduct the dependent care expenses on our tax return.”

    Hmm, for dependent care, I contribute to an account and then get reimbursed when I submit receipts, but I also get a NYS tax credit. I don’t have an FSA so no idea how that works. I do contribute to an HSA pre-tax as well.

  85. You can use both the dependent care account AND deduct expenses on your tax return if your expenses are high enough. You just can’t use the same expenses twice.

  86. @ Anon – sounds like general fatigue, which I think sets in with everyone. That said, it also sounds like the other kid deserved it. We have told our boys they’ll never be in trouble with us for either defending themselves or each other. Just on these facts I don’t see anything particularly troubling here.

  87. Y’all’s kids’ schools are way more tolerant than most. Usually, whoever hits first is the evildoer. Doesn’t matter if he was provoked.

  88. “Hmm, for dependent care, I contribute to an account and then get reimbursed when I submit receipts, but I also get a NYS tax credit. I don’t have an FSA so no idea how that works.”

    It sounds to me like you have a FSA by another name; I think FSA is not an official IRS term, but one used by many dependent care reimbursement account plans.

  89. Anon – voice of hard experience here. Hitting the same kid twice is a big no-no. You can have his back in that you love him, you don’t demonize him at home, you listen long and carefully to his story, maybe you even take him to a professional counselor (preferably male) for an evaluation or a few sessions. You can, without him or the other parent in the room, express your concern to the principal that he is being bullied or provoked by the other kid, especially if there are (relevant or random) slurs involved in what is being said. But this time you can’t give the impression to him or to anyone in authority that you blame the other kid, or that his response is in any way excusable. He is old enough to learn the hard lesson that we are responsible for our own behavior and will be judged and punished thereon. You are old enough to figure out that if you make excuses for him more than the one initial time they will brand him a problem child because his parents are problem parents. I know this is a little harsh, but unlike most of the other posters with spirited boys who appear just to grow out of it, I had one who had a very short fuse and any incident of “disrespect” caused bad behavior (he was never physically violent with other people, but there is a lot of stuff short of that that can cause years of difficulty). He turned out fine in his 30s, but nobody wants to wait it out that long.

  90. Mémé’s comment made me wonder whether you’re in a Totebaggy school or not. One of the reasons I’m reluctant to send my kids to the local Spanish immersion program even if transportation is provided is that I suspect either punching people on the bus or getting punched on the bus will be par for the course.

  91. Anonymous would not be writing in if this were a school or demographic that expects boys to settle things physically on the playground or school bus, and where the kids with the bruises are told to stop whining and stand up for themselves. A different child would be the one with worried parents there.

  92. Good point. We had a newspaper article featuring the high level of behavior disorders (throwing chairs at elementary school classmates, etc.) in our local schools this year so I’ve been already pondering balance on this topic.

  93. My nephew got into two incidents with one kid. The school agreed to separate and closely monitor both students as these incidents were taking place on the playground where teachers were present. Since then there have been no further incidents. My nephew is a “good kid” in all other aspects – so he did get a bit of a break

  94. I don’t have advice for anon, just wishes that the other wisdom here helps. However, I was just discussing with my kids the other day that it seems girls are more likely than boys to get into physical altercations at our local school. This would be in MS and HS. Not sure why this is the case.

  95. Wow, CoC, I have never heard of any physical altercations at the MS/HS. Maybe my kids are oblivious. I have asked then a bunch of times, and all they have mentioned is one kid who likes to trip other kids in the cafeteria.
    There is a kid in DD’s afterschool program, though, who is a problem. He has punched and kicked DD numerous times. He is also one of those kids who tries to taunt and bother everyone around him. Most of the kids ignore him, but stupid DD gets rankled, then she kicks him, and then he hits back violently. She has come home with many bruises. The thing is, I know this kid, and I am certain that he has some major issues, and I feel badly for his parents. I try to explain to DD that he has some problems and that she should be nice to him but ignore him when he is trying to needle her. But she just can’t seem to do it.

  96. “an extra $5-$10k during a maternity leave would be helpful but I imagine most professionals have at least that in savings”

    OK, remember that silly in-the-bubble quiz? This has got to be one of the most bubblicious quotes ever.

  97. MM, I don’t get it. Why do Totebaggers assume professionals can/should pay for their kids’ college but that ensuring you have $5-$10k for time off after a planned pregnancy is “in the bubble”?

    $5k-$10k is way different than $100-200k.

  98. Totebaggers assume we will all have to pay for our own children’s college. That doesn’t mean that we think every family should have to pay for their own children’s college, or their own children’s preschool, or health insurance, or food on the table.

    What I think are appropriate expenses for me to pay, given my income, is not what I think everyone else should have to do. I am, for many reasons, in a position of privilege.

  99. I guess it hinges on “what is a professional”? How about an office administrator? A low level HR person? A freelance graphics designer? An adjunct instructor who teaches 4 courses? A grantswriter at a small nonprofit? The people in your company travel office? These are all people who consider themselves white collar at least, but who are likely to have little savings because they don’t make a lot of money.

  100. Ada, I think your comment about “appropriate expenses for you to pay” explains why the difference between the estimate of the cost of the program in the original article ($1/week) and my calculation estimate ($18/week over a working life) didn’t draw interest.

    As a conservative, I think, “Who, pray tell, is going to cover the 18x difference between the estimated cost of the program in the article and the actual cost of the program?”

  101. WCE – I was interested in your comment. There’s just nothing else to say when the source of the ridiculous estimate is not cited, although it was dutifully parroted in every article I found it n the topic when I was looking for the other details.

  102. WCE – I was interested in your comment. If the scheme is functioning like insurance, there is the assumption that some people will end up needing all the time off they are allowed while others may not need it. If there are more men in the pool, they’ll end up contributing but won’t take maternity leave.

  103. I thought both men and women were eligible for 12 weeks of paid leave upon the birth or adoption of a child. I assumed this meant two working parent families could have 24 weeks of paid leave. It’s possible my calculations are wrong, but to say that the proposed program costs only $1/week and ignore the changes in behavior likely to result after such a program is implemented is disingenuous.

  104. My guess is that there’s an assumption somewhere that a lot of more highly paid people, and those concerned about falling of the corporate ladder, aren’t going to take advantage of the leave.

    But still, it does seem like a large disparity. And I’d also guess that a lot of people for whom it would replace most of their wages would take it more than 3x.

  105. Finn, we agree. The point of my back-of-the-envelope calculation was to assert that the $1/week estimate is likely off by at least 10x, which is problematic.

    If it were off by 10-25% over a few decades, the idea would be more viable.

  106. WCE’s estimates might be a little high, though. Families with a SAHP probably won’t use it at all because they can’t afford the lost income. Dual-income families will very rarely have both parents use it; most likely Mom will. So, very roughly speaking, one third won’t use it at all (the workers with SAH partners) and half will use it 1.5 times on average, not three. So figure one use per worker rather than three, which might bring it as low as $6 per week.

  107. “And I’d also guess that a lot of people for whom it would replace most of their wages would take it more than 3x.”

    It can never replace more than two-thirds of wages, right?

    I’m not entirely sure that it’s all that easy to game. You still need to birth or adopt a child, or get a parent critically ill. You can only do either so many times.

  108. Milo, I thought about some of those points and I partly agree. The idea behind the legislation was to encourage both mothers and fathers to take infant care leave, so I assumed that would work to a large extent. For example, Mr WCE wanted to take extended leave when Baby WCE was born, but the logistics of his job, his status as a full-time employee with benefits vs. my status as a part-time contractor and the logistics of breastfeeding meant I took 6 months off instead. You are also ignoring the people who will take leave for some reason other than the birth of a child and single parent families.

    I think over 50 years, we’d see 2 uses/worker.

  109. Milo, the program can only replace up to 2/3 of wages IGNORING childcare expenses. Low wage workers are clearly better off taking the leave and avoiding infant childcare expenses for as long as possible, especially if they are paying for childcare for more than one child.

  110. Trigger warning–This is just about college searching so skip if you’re not interested.

    Finn, I didn’t get a chance to answer last night. I think accepted student days were extremely helpful to both my kids. D went to three, S probably just 2. These were the final contenders. In most cases the kid can do an overnight in the dorm, and you also get a lot more detailed and more candid info at these events. It’s not all admissions department spin.
    I will say that I think the smaller the school, the more important the visit. Each school has a distinct personality but at a large school it’s easier to escape that personality. At a small school fit is a lot more important.

  111. Next week we have a college tour post coming up.

    MM — Yeah, my kids have seen and been peripherally involved in school fights among girls. Even at least one where the agreed upon time and place was set up during lunch in the cafeteria. That one drew a crowd. But the most I’ve heard about the boys was tripping other boys. Always good for a laugh. :(

  112. At my kids’s private MS – the first half of the sixth grade had several dismissals for fighting among the boys. There was a lot of emphasis on finding your people and approriate behavior towards your peers. The academics were a little lighter to accommodate settling in. Next year academics ramps up and then eight grade is preparation for high school. The academic breather years seem to correspond to developmental stages.

  113. Anon, you know your son. I am with Meme on this. If you thought that this punching incident just an isolated instance, you might not have mentioned it here. Boys will be boys, and one of mine as a 4th grader calmly removed his glasses and then punched a 3rd grader who dared to suggest that he had gotten a math problem wrong. It was totally out of character and he had (in his mind) been unreasonably provoked, and though I was mortified when I got the call from the other mom, I didn’t worry about him. But your situation seems different. As RMS observed, many schools have little tolerance for unruly boys who hit others, even if the other kid was asking for it. You don’t want him to be labeled as the difficult kid, either by the school or his peers. You’ve tried different ways of helping him to control his temper. He’s 12 now and may be stronger than he realizes. If it happens again, he might really hurt someone, which would be a disaster all around. If it were me, I would seek help from an experienced professional (preferably male). You can nip this in the bud at 12, before he is dealing with the onslaught of hormones that may further derail his efforts to control his impulses. Don’t ignore your instincts. Some kids just don’t respond to the typical incentives that work for others.

  114. As a conservative, I think, “Who, pray tell, is going to cover the 18x difference between the estimated cost of the program in the article and the actual cost of the program?”

    The upper middle class and above of course. We’ve never done better in history and those at the bottom are doing a lot worse than they once were. Why not give them a piece of our totally undeserved good fortune?

  115. @Anon: You mentioned problems controlling his behavior, and you also mentioned two incidents with this one boy. Were there other incidents that lead you to believe the problem is your son’s self-control, and not this one particular kid?

    If this has been a recurring issue in many scenarios, I agree with Meme and Scarlett. Note particularly that ADHD includes high impulsivity, much of which can express itself physically, so taunting + early hormones + little self-regulation = pop in the eye (spoken as the mom of the 4-yr-old girl who got sent home for kicking a boy in play). So my first stop would be your doctor to see whether this suggests some change in his treatment plan.

    OTOH, if it just seems to be a recurring issue with just this one kid, I would look hard at the other kid as well and talk to the school about bullying, because taunting other kids until they snap is a favored technique. If that is the situation, I would make sure the school addresses the other kid’s behavior as well. And depending on the circumstances, I might just sort of reach Milo’s conclusion and let it go at that.

  116. @COC — been trying to post a link and it keeps getting eaten — can you pull one of them out of the spam filter? Thanks.

  117. WCE – I was interested in your comment also, I can’t figure how they got $1/week

  118. ” Why not give them a piece of our totally undeserved good fortune?”

    You’re welcome to do that. We’ll be keeping our taxable/adjusted income below the targeted thresholds and letting the untaxed and lightly taxed side do more of the heavy lifting.

  119. Ha, Milo – I was about to respond to that same quote of Rhett’s with either “+1000” or “Rhett, I love you.” :)

  120. Anon: I support what Meme and Scarlett have said. I’d get a diagnosis for ADHD (if appropriate) and discuss medication (if appropriate). With puberty coming up, you want to give your DS as many tools in his tool kit as possible.

    I agree with your concern and commend the steps you’re taking. The ADHD diagnosis might be helpful if your kid hits other kids.

  121. So my link that didn’t post: apparently the Frugalwoods have found their farm, earlier than scheduled.

  122. I do take issue with WCE’s numbers. $1 per week is the “insurance premium” (remember, FICA standards for Federal Insurance Contributions Act) that is taken out of every NYS eligible worker’s paycheck every week. For a worker who makes an elevated minimum wage of 15 times 40, the weekly pay (annual wage of 31,000 – above national median) is only 570 and I think the reimbursement was capped at 2/3 of actual or 800, whichever is smaller. So that is 380, not 800, for the average worker. Most professionals have leave or disability programs that would pay them more, and the regs will likely make it all or nothing – piggyback programs that allow supplementation of the state base will probably be prohibited. Many 50 somethings with elder care issues will have already been reduced in force and have become consultants or temp workers outside the system. And anyone in the vaunted gig economy is out of luck.

  123. Another way to do a rough estimate of the cost of maternity leave, is to look at what other countries pay period in Sweden, 2.2% of salary is taken to fund the state’s generous maternity and paternity leave policy. This policy provides for roughly 14 months of pay at 80% of salary, to a maximum of about 825 per week, or 4-5 times the amount that we are discussing in the United States. As a rough estimate, it is possible that a similar leave policy would cost between 20 and 25% of what Sweden’s cost (as it provides 20 to 25% of the same benefit). For an average worker bringing in $40000 per year in wages, this would be 0.5%, or $4.

  124. “That would be $4 per week, if I carried all the zeros correctly.”

    Now add in the spouse/eldercare benefit, and you’re right around $8 a week, which is about what WCE and I reasoned out.

  125. Note that I attributed 30 years of full-time earnings to the average worker. People who are SAHP or who are downsized and not working in their 50’s are unlikely to have 30 years of full-time earnings. You need to look at the “years of full-time earnings” metric and not just the “benefit per worker”.

    In any case, I think the estimate is off by a matter of “something times x”, not a percentage of $1.

  126. Thanks for all the advice. Turns out the other kid purposely bumped up against him and that’s when he punched him. Sounds more like self defense to me and the other kid was not hurt so we let it go after discussing the situation and his response and other options with him. He does lose recess today.

    This is a somewhat isolated incident but he does have a history of poor impulse control so we keep an eye on it, particularly if it involves non-family or somewhat gets hurt.

    The school has an anti-bullying policy, but they do give the kids a chance to work it out and discuss other options. It somewhat just talk though since when my son has tried to involve an adult when someone is bothering him, nothing much seems to happen.

  127. Citation needed? I think it is unlikely that an average person, overr their lifetime, would spend as much time on elder or spouse care as they would on infant care. At least not as much time away from work doing those things.

  128. LfB,

    It’s a cute house. I don’t know what it is but I love the look of metal roofs.

  129. Darn it, I thought I knew where it was, but I can’t find it in the Windsor County recently sold listings.

    Ada – the doc just diagnosed me with viral labyrinthitis – how long will it take to get over it? :-0 I don’t like feeling dizzy all the time.

  130. Citation needed? I think it is unlikely that an average person, overr their lifetime, would spend as much time on elder or spouse care as they would on infant care. At least not as much time away from work doing those things.

    I disagree. I’ve filled out quite a few FMLA forms for my patients’ family members, and I’m sure there would be a lot more people taking it if it was a paid benefit. It would probably be in smaller chunks rather than 12 weeks at a time, but I think it would be very highly used.

  131. Ada, I assumed people would spend twice the leave time on infant care that they do on care for sick relatives. Siblings are not eligible relatives, which means I wouldn’t be eligible to be paid while I care for my childless sister.

    Given smaller family sizes, I don’t think today’s time per elderly family member care statistics can be applied forward indefinitely. I expect eldercare obligations to increase while infant care obligations stay about the same.

  132. ” I think it is unlikely that an average person, over their lifetime, would spend as much time on elder or spouse care as they would on infant care.”

    I don’t think “time spent” is necessarily the correct metric here. It’s a matter of having a family member in that situation and being eligible for and willing to take the insurance benefit.

    If anything, people in their late 40s and 50s with old parents might be better positioned, financially, to take the full 12 weeks than they were 20 years prior when the children were born.

  133. Also, I can tolerate an actuarially sound program that forces people to save for babies and sick relatives instead of spending money on healthy food or rent to have a shorter commute or train fare to work or cigarettes/beer or whatever people would have spent their money on in the absence of the program.

    I oppose actuarially unsound programs of any stripe.

  134. Eldercare is easier to outsource to the poorest paid member of the family than infant care is. Alternatively, on the other end of the spectrum, it is easier to outsource to paid providers. It is incredibly rare that someone could only take a week off for baby care. While I went back to work fairly early with all of my children, I still have a cumulative 50 weeks of full-timebaby care I’ve done in my life (all unpaid), when you include the time I was working a partial schedule. I can’t imagine that I would ever take off that much time for elder care (though never say never). My opportunity cost is too high. And while my situation is atypical, I am a disproportionately high contributer to the system.

  135. What I hear, is that people with fewer/no kids landing up caring for their elderly relatives. So, no or less child care leave but heavy elder care obligations.

  136. “It somewhat just talk though since when my son has tried to involve an adult when someone is bothering him, nothing much seems to happen.”

    @Anon — this changes the calculus, in my estimation. We tell our kids “talk to an adult,” but if the kids try that and no one listens or does anything, they’re going to tune that out and take matters into their own hands. It is perfectly reasonable for a kid to defend himself when no one else will. You’re doing the right thing by keeping an eye on your kid, not assuming he is a blameless angel, letting him feel the consequences, etc. — he’s going to be the one who suffers the punishment if he keeps responding physically, so he does need to learn that that is only a very last resort.

    But I would also keep an eye on the school — if their deeds do not match their words and policies, call them on it. Send emails to the principal when your son reports a problem with another kid, or when he reports a problem to a teacher and is blown off. Asking them to ensure that the teachers are appropriately trained in the bullying policy and understand what they need to do. Etc. (critical component: no anger/accusations, no one is a bad person here, you’re just “concerned” that not everyone understands what they need to do or feels empowered to take action, etc.). That way if the same thing happens again next year, you will have at a minimum created a paper trail of (reasonable) communications that show they allowed bullying to continue and did not respond to your reasonable requests to intervene. They will likely assume your kid is the instigator given his past history, so this kind of record can help defend him against those claims.

  137. LfB, your comment is extremely helpful to me. I have one volatile child and will definitely think “paper trail” if he winds up in a situation like that in the future. One of the reason I like the Future Elementary School Teachers of America so much is their good manners.

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