Legislating parental leave

The article ``Parental-leave bill alarms business,'' Dec. 1, on business opposition to parental-leave legislation, suggests three contradictions in the stance of some business leaders. First, the leaders oppose an idea that they generally agree is good on its merits, and that many companies have already put into place. To oppose a good idea because it should not be ``mandated'' is fairly abstract.

Second, many corporate leaders wisely invest time and money in community programs to improve education and help children. Yet they fight parental leave, which improves the lives of young children and their families.

Finally, organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce point to the costs of parental leave, but ignore numerous studies showing that the practice can enhance the corporate bottom line by improving productivity and morale and reducing turnover.

A cost-benefit analysis that highlights costs and ignores benefits is not a reliable analysis. David Blankenhorn Executive Director Institute for American Values New York

The parental-leave bill is a very important issue facing both businesses and their employees. I am a December college graduate who will soon be entering the job market, with hopes of having a career and someday a family as well.

I feel this bill is very pertinent to the growing number of women in the US labor force; without it many women who decide to have children may have to sacrifice their positions or wages to spend the first few months with their newborn child.

This bill seeks a fair solution to the problem by allowing workers up to 10 weeks of unpaid leave for either newborn or just-adopted children. The bill affects only businesses with more than 50 employees. Feasible regulations for smaller businesses, which employ 56 percent of the work force, must now be found. Janice Christen Eau Claire, Wis.

Revitalizing N.Y.C. As a former New Yorker of many years, I was fascinated by Marilyn Hoffman's article ``New face for a famed neighborhood,'' Nov. 27, about plans for improving Grand Central Terminal and its vicinity.

I can picture the changes involved for the various streets: Greater breathing and resting space would be created amid more cultured, picturesque surroundings.

I imagine that the citizens promoting the changes are already enthusiastically anticipating the beauty of this great enterprise. It's thrilling. Harriet L. Bossard Bradenton, Fla.

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