Why does Ohio want to punish its girls?

Posted by Marc Hodak on October 29, 2007 under Unintended consequences | Read the First Comment

At least when it comes to their prospects for finding work. Ohio’s state’s Civil Rights Commission now requires companies with four or more employees to grant women up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid maternity leave.

Well, shouldn’t women get some time off when they have a baby? Sure. And women get it, including in Ohio. In fact, Federal law already requires that employers with more than 50 workers provide 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave for women who have worked more than a year. The Ohio law simply extends that to very small companies, and regardless of the amount of time those employees have worked. And it’s not as if Ohio law had previously ignored even this group of women; it currently requires that all employers give women a “reasonable period of time” off to care for their new babies.

So, if you own, say, a small bakery in one of those Ohio strip malls, and you’re no longer allowed to decide for yourself what is “reasonable,” and a pregnant woman comes looking for a job, how are you going to defend yourself? Let’s say she’s just a little obese (you’re not allowed to ask if she’s pregnant)? What if you own one of those little gift shops in a quaint Ohio town, and you have a choice between a fertile young woman, or someone more matronly, or a young man? Folks, these policies have real world consequences.

It would be a difficult study to conduct, but I would bet that unemployment among young women is about to go up in Ohio faster than the overall average, including at those employment law firms that will, no doubt, be the only beneficiaries of this law.

  • kat said,

    I agree with you. However, I don’t agree that women are entitled to time off for making reproductive choices. I’m a woman and I run my own business. If I take time off, I don’t make money. If a woman worked for me and decided to take time off, I would lose whatever her production would have been. If she outproduces everyone, I have no incentive to fire her and I have every incentive to accommodate her. In other words, if she’s good enough, the market will provide a job for her. If she’s not, why should I be forced to discriminate in her favour just because she happens to be a woman? that seems sexist to me.