Group Believes Clinton Parental Leave Plan Would Hurt Business

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( Clinton's announcement Tuesday of a proposed new rule allowing parental leave payments from the same system that now pays temporary benefits to the unemployed has generated a negative reaction from a major business group.

Mary Leon, a spokesperson for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) told, "This is an employer tax held in trust for the unemployed. Unemployment and economic decline have marked many of those nations that offer paid leave and limitless employee benefits"

NFIB also is concerned that, if unemployment increases, Clinton's plan may force Congress to raise taxes in order to cover unemployment benefits for employees because the funds have been depleted by paid family leave.

"We have a tremendous concern about it," Leon said. "The President's proposal, as we have read it, would affect all employers, regardless of size. Right now, the current Family and Medical Leave Act only provides unpaid leave to employees taking time off and does not apply to employers with fewer than 50 employees. So, for the first time, an employer with two employees is going to be subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act," Leon said.

Leon also added that "A small business owner with five employees is vastly different than one with 500 employees or 5,000 employees in having two people or one person away for up to three months. It's going to be extremely difficult for a small business owner"