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Dueling Family Leave Policies

by Countable | 2.9.18

What’s the story?

Senators from both sides of the aisle are backing separate paid family leave proposals.

Independent Women’s Forum

The plan outlined by IWF would "offer new parents the opportunity to collect early Social Security benefits after the arrival of their child in exchange for their agreeing to defer the collection of their Social Security retirement benefits."

As the Washington Post explained, "The IWF estimates the plan would replace 45 percent of the average parent's income for a period of up to 12 weeks. In exchange, that parent would have to defer retirement by roughly six weeks to offset the cost."

According to the IWF, the average wage worker would receive $1,175 per month.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said a proposal like IWF’s "would not only represent conservatism meeting the challenges of the 21st century, it would remain true to Social Security's fundamental principle of providing assistance to dependents in our care."

But Democratic Sen. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut criticized the IWF plan:

"Workers should not have to permanently cut their Social Security retirement benefits in order to spend time with a newborn child, and any paid leave plan that reflects the needs of working people and families must address the need to deal with a personal or family member’s serious illness."

The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) proposed a bill that calls for a 0.2 percent employee payroll tax and a 0.2 percent employer tax that would fund up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. The FAMILY Act would pay 66 percent of monthly wages.

The National Partnership for Women and Families, which supports the FAMILY Act, estimates the average workers would pay less than $1.50 per week in new taxes.

Third Way

Both proposals are still far behind the international standard set by the International Labor Organization (ILO).

As the Post explained, "While both plans are an improvement over current law, which mandates no paid maternity leave, either one would still leave the United States a stingy outlier among the world's wealthy nations when it comes to paid family leave."

The ILO recommends 14 weeks of family leave at an income replacement rate of at least 66 percent. But "nearly all countries in the [Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development] offer considerably more than that," the Post noted. “Eastern European countries offer the equivalent of a year or more at full pay, while the Nordic democracies offer six months or more.”

What do you think?

Do you support the IWF or FAMILY paid family leave proposals? Or would you like something closer to Eastern European or Nordic democracies? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

(Photo Credit: monkeybusinessimages / iStock)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(55)
  • singinghawk926
    02/09/2018
    ···

    So at least they’re arguing over competing plans! Doing their job, what a novelty! I do commend their efforts to find issues and concerns that We the People have and to begin at least a dialogue across the aisle on some of the ones in which they can find mutually beneficial aspects. We need you to do MORE of this, you hear?? MORE!

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  • Andy1
    02/10/2018
    ···

    I’m tired of the US being the Alabama of the world. What other choice do we have as a species than to have children? It’s time we stop punishing families for becoming families

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  • Countryfirst
    02/10/2018
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    At least both sides are discussing the family leave act..actually doing something for constituents what a novelty!

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  • Donna
    02/10/2018
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    There is a long-term benefit to paid family leave for new parents - and the newborns themselves. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guaranteed workers employment after taking up to 12 weeks off to care for newborns, ill family members or deal with serious illness themselves. That was a start. However, that leave is unpaid, unless your employer allows you to accumulate 12 weeks of paid time off AND you manage to have that much time when illness hits or baby comes. Newborns are expensive. Cancer and other serious illnesses are expensive. Needing (or wanting) to take time off from work should not be dictated by how much money you have. All parents deserve the right to spend quality time with their newborns. People fighting illnesses deserve the right to concentrate on their health, not worrying about how the bills will be paid. That is called compassion. It is about time the US joined the ranks of every other developed nation and started putting citizens above corporations. The fact these conversations have been started is encouraging. Hopefully they will continue.

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  • Norm
    02/10/2018
    ···

    As I continue to look at these Bills and other Bills, and have conversations with peers and family we resolve to say we’re the wealthiest and best country on earth. But wealthiest in these United States of America doesn’t mean most moral, most generous of heart and spirit, or most generous of support or financial wisdom to our own people. Our evolution has been stuck for some time now. All Donald Trumps White House has done has been to open 2/3 of our eyes to our democracies problems and America’s problems in particular, especially greed, and hateful maligned speeches as some kind of TV blood sport. We need to wake up more to make change folks.

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  • NoHedges
    02/10/2018
    ···

    Fixing Social Security sustainability is as easy as placing a resource cap to qualify. It is ridiculous that social security is viewed as some specialty entitlement. ✅We all pay into many social good programs via taxes. This doesn't mean we all are entitled to services. Social Security should be no different! What does a billionaire or a multimillionaire need with a couple thousand in social security every month? ⚡️While, I support the spirit of this bill, I don't support pay it forward funding model when there are other sustainable funding avenues which won't require restorative justice measures 🌈Every time this administration strikes outs at our children and families, make a pledge to reach beyond Countable and hit the social media, blogs, and papers. Launch your own media blitz every time this administration tears down, rolls back, restructures, or neglects any policy/program that impacts/protects a child under the age of 14. 🔵Stop the madness; protects the children.

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  • divinejlet
    02/10/2018
    ···

    I was watching the opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games with my husband tonight. He saw a country’s 5 athletes and asked who that country was. Neither of us had heard of it or countless others participating I’m sure. My response was, “I don’t know but they’ve got paid parental leave!” I say that because we are one of the only TWO COUNTRIES IN THE WORLD that don’t have it. The first option sounds good and like compromise, but it’s not. Women take 6 weeks of leave and then have to work 6 weeks longer later? That’s not paid time off. Of course men could use this too but most families can’t afford to go 6 weeks at 66% or less total income, especially when bringing a child into the financial mix. Aside from that, we all have been told ( people of child bearing age) that we’re not going to see any of the thousands or millions of dollars we paid into the social security system. The second option is a more sincere choice. Yes some people won’t personally benefit from the taxes they paid but everyone will benefit when children get to form a strong emotional bond to their parents in those first few weeks, New parents aren’t as exhausted, mothers get to heal their bodies, Fathers get to participate in bonding/learning/adjusting from the beginning- leading to happier, healthier, safer and more productive society members. We all pay taxes to things we don’t personally benefit from currently, they were just in place when you started working so you don’t mind them as much because that’s the way it is. Employers would lose an employee for the time off but they gain a better employee in the long run because they got the physical and emotional time to heal/adjust they need. As far as covering the work, all the other countries have figured it out & so would/will we. Neither option gives the citizens of this country what it should, but the fact that there are options being legitimately offered now is a great start. Let’s just do something. We can always make it better as we go on. Doing nothing is the worst choice. I have one child and don’t plan on having more, so I won’t benefit. But the world around me does. People are capital to a country. People must reproduce in order to have a country. No babies no citizens, no future producers, entrepreneurs or labor force. No tax payers. No more human race. Paid paternal leave is just a minute investment for the country.

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  • Deirdre
    02/11/2018
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    Yes we need paid family leave but not out of social security.

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  • Barb
    02/11/2018
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    New parents need paid leave. Just like every other western countries offer. Parents and babies need to bond as well as try to get some sleep. I have no children but too many of my friends have truly struggled once their baby is born. Seems to be common sense but that is lacking currently.

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  • Gerald
    02/10/2018
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    We just transferred trillions of dollars to corporations with tax cuts. Why didn’t we add the responsibility for FMLA? Instead of taking more from our debt driven social security, or taxing someone who can’t have babies, let the new wealthy corporations spend a little of their gift from trump for FMLA. We set the standards for workers in this country and corporations comply. Since corporations now own the government, this may not be possible. But the idea of taxpayers or employees funding this to save the cost from corporations drowning in tax cut wealth is absurd.

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  • Karan
    02/09/2018
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    No businesses should be paying their employees not to work. If I’m an employer why should I pay my employee not to work. Rubios plan is good. It allows people to take a weeks off and take money from their own Social Security Fund and in return, they have to work a few weeks extra. That’s smart and responsible.

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  • HockeyGuy
    02/10/2018
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    I support the family leave act. I would rather pay higher taxes to support this family leave act than to pay less taxes for more nuclear weapons or military weapons that the military doesn’t need or want!

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  • Jeanette
    02/10/2018
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    I don’t agree with paying a tax towards maternity/paternity leave. I’m not having kids. Why should I be paying for others to have the time off work? If they want to take it out of their social security, that is fine.

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  • Sara
    03/17/2018
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    This sounds good on paper, however, I'm not sure how a small business would possibly survive if employees were able to take off for weeks. There wouldn't be any way to guarantee that someone's job would be available upon their return. Obviously, that employee would have to be replaced and it's likely that a business wouldn't or couldn't simply hire someone else to work for those weeks, especially in professions like law, healthcare, etc. This needs a lot more thought to it.

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  • Joanne
    02/09/2018
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    The Family Leave Act sounds really good. Of course, the Eastern European model sounds better. It is so very important to have parents stay home and care for their children. I wonder if job positions remain open for the returning parent.

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  • TMoorePA610
    02/10/2018
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    GOP, make no mistake, you are enabling, co-signing, backing, endorsing, and promulgating anti-woman, anti-family and anti-human values as long as you look the other way as POTUS and this administration are allowed to continue unimpeded. The fish rots from the head. Clean that up, reestablish some decent values, and THEN. debate family leave, etc. ... in bipartisan fashion with the Dems. I find you all disgusting right now.

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  • Mindful
    02/11/2018
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    I support the Family Act...even better Eastern European/Nordic approach to family leave programs. OMG!...our Great Country can & should afford this protection to American families...at a minimum. This is 2018.

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  • AER
    02/11/2018
    ···

    Both of these family leave options are better than the nonexistent one we have now, but we still have a long way to go to catch up with the rest of the modern world. My husband and I are both freelancers working contract to contract (and hoping to start a family soon) so I wonder how each of these options would play out for us.

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  • orangermac
    02/11/2018
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    New York State just started phasing in Paid Family Leave. It has been priceless for my wife to stay home with our 3rd son for 3 months. Only wish it could be longer, like many European countries.

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  • Brian
    02/10/2018
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    If I had to choose I support the IWF, but I would like to know how are we going to pay for this. Preferably the free market handle this and let private companies compete with paid maternity leave.

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