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According to The New York Times, the United States is the only industrialized country that does not guarantee paid family leave. Many employees must take unpaid leave when it comes to caring for a new baby, adoption, or taking care of a sick family member. And although the government seems to agree that providing some type of paid leave is important, no one can agree how to fund it. Here’s a brief look at a few of the bills being proposed.
Sponsored By: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut
- Builds on the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (12 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave)
- Proposes to provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave (at 66% of an employee’s monthly wages)
- Funding provided through employer and employee payroll taxes
Status: Currently in the House Committee of Finance
Working Parents Flexibility Act
Sponsored By: Representative John Katko of New York
- Create a tax-exempt parental leave savings account to be used for childcare
- Employees could contribute up to $6,750 a year
- Possibility of employers contributing to these accounts as part of their benefits package (optional)
Status: Currently in the House Committee on Ways and Means
Child Rearing and Development Leave Empowerment (CRADLE)
Sponsored By: Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa and Mike Lee of Utah
- Voluntary program for new parents
- Must take leave from work
- Parents eligible to receive up to 3 months paid leave benefit by accessing their Social Security benefits early
- In exchange, they would postpone collecting benefits for double the time they took off for leave (example, take off 3 months, delay 6 months)
Status: Currently in the House Subcommittee on Health
Economic Security for New Parents Act (New Parents Act)
Sponsored By: Senator Marco Rubio of Florida
- New parents could draw benefits from Social Security
- Parents could continue to work and use the funds for childcare expenses
- Payment would be recouped by parents delaying or reducing future Social Security benefits
Status: Currently in the House Committee on Finance
Trump’s Proposed Family Leave Program
And lastly, the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget includes a proposal for a federal state parental leave program. It would provide 6 weeks of paid benefits for parents and funded by the unemployment insurance program. At the time of this writing, there is no proposed legislation introduced yet.
Stay tuned to our blog for further information on this topic and other late-breaking news.
National Insurance Services is not a law firm and no opinion, suggestion, or recommendation of the firm or its employees shall constitute legal advice. Readers are advised to consult with their own attorney for a determination of their legal rights, responsibilities and liabilities, including the interpretation of any statute or regulation, or its application to the readers’ business activities.