IMF Chief Backs Paid Family Leave for United States

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said policies needed to counter declining productivity and labor force participation, as well as income inequality and almost 15 percent of Americans living in poverty, include a higher federal minimum wage, more generous earned income tax credit, and upgraded social programs for the non-working poor.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said June 22 that U.S. growth prospects "are good despite the recent temporary setbacks" -- declining productivity and labor force participation, as well as income inequality and almost 15 percent of Americans living in poverty -- and called for the United States to adopt paid family leave so a worker can care for a child or parent. She said IMF also recommends a better disability insurance program for the United States.

Lagarde was speaking during a United States 2016 Article IV news conference, "All in all, our assessment is that, if left unchecked, these four forces—participation, productivity, polarization, and poverty—will corrode the underpinnings of growth (both potential and actual) and hold back gains in U.S. living standards," she said, explaining that policies needed to counter those forces include a higher federal minimum wage, more generous earned income tax credit, and upgraded social programs for the non-working poor.

"There is a need to deepen and improve the provision of reasonable benefits to households to give incentives for work, raise the labor supply, and to support families. This should include paid family leave to care for a child or a parent, childcare assistance, and a better disability insurance program. I would just note that the U.S. is the only country among advanced economies without paid maternity leave at the national level and U.S. female labor force participation is 12 percent lower than that for men. Sensible skills-based immigration reform could also raise the labor supply and boost productivity," she said. "Boosting productivity growth is another policy imperative. Productivity gains must inherently be based in the private sector. But public policies can help. A better tax system, efforts toward more trade integration, better infrastructure, a stronger and more vocationally oriented education system would all support higher productivity growth."

She admitted these are not easy measures for the United States to adopt. "None of this is easy. However, there are many good ideas out there as to how best to address these issues. And that provides a strong foundation for progress," she said. "In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that the near-term U.S. growth prospects are good despite the recent temporary setbacks. We think that growth should be 2.2 percent this year and higher still in 2017. And by countering the 'four forces' I have just described, I am confident that the U.S. can remain on the frontier of innovation and opportunity."

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - June 2022

    June 2022

    Featuring:

    • SAFETY CULTURE
      Corporate Safety Culture Is Workplace Culture
    • HEAT STRESS
      Keeping Workers Safe from Heat-Related Illnesses & Injuries
    • EMPLOYEE HEALTH SCREENING
      Should Employers Consider Oral Fluid Drug Testing?
    • PPE FOR WOMEN
      Addressing Physical Differences
    View This Issue