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senate Bill S. 786

Do the Feds Need to Raise Taxes to Fund a Paid Sick Leave Program?

Argument in favor

Ensuring that working families don’t suffer economic hardship because one or more of a family’s earners have to take time off of work to tend to the health needs of their spouse or child benefits all Americans, and is worth the taxes.

Leo's Opinion
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09/22/2015
Every other developed country has it. The United States needs to show that it too cares for its citizens.
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Erin's Opinion
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09/22/2015
Do away with antiquated theories of the bootstrap myth and the lone wolf myth.
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Alis's Opinion
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09/24/2015
The congress has managed to engineer the U.S. into destructive inequality with tax breaks for wealthy individuals & corporations. And the systematic destruction of the social safety net & education. News flash: the government does NOT exist for the sole benefit of the wealthy although it is clear that the conservatives believe that ordinary citizens are worthless & deserve no part of the American promise. That means you, Sen. Rubio & Rep. DeSantis. I'm voting for THE DONALD. I sincerely hope he destroys your party for generations to come!
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Argument opposed

Raising taxes to create a new entitlement program — however well intentioned — is the last thing that the American taxpayer and the country’s economy need at the moment, especially with an unknown price tag.

GrumpyMSgt's Opinion
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09/21/2015
No! If you are that worried look into AFLAC and pay for it. This is not a reason to spend taxpayer dollars.
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Chris's Opinion
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09/21/2015
This should be left to the private sector
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StratonGarrard's Opinion
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09/21/2015
We already have a plethora of entitlement behemoths that need to be worked on without adding any more to the mix.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Finance
    IntroducedMarch 18th, 2015

What is Senate Bill S. 786?

This bill would entitle every person to a family and medical leave insurance (FMLI) benefit payment for up to one year after they meet certain qualifications to compensate them for up to 60 caregiving days over the course of that year. To accomplish this, the Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave would be established within the Social Security Administration.


Any person who meets the following criteria would be qualified for a benefit payment if they:

  • Are insured for disability insurance benefits under the Social Security Act when they have applied for FMLI benefits;

  • Have earned income from work during the 12 months before the application was filed;

  • Have filed an application for a FMLI benefit;

  • Were engaged in qualified caregiving 90 days before the application was filed, or anticipate doing so in the 30 days after.


A formula would be created to determine an individual’s monthly FMLI benefit payment, which also establish the minimum and maximum monthly benefit amounts. Workers could get up to 12 weeks of partial income when taking time off for dealing with their own health problems, or those of their spouse or child. They could receive up to two-thirds of their monthly wages up to a capped amount.


This bill would also contain a requirement that these benefit payments be coordinated with temporary disability insurance and any state, local, or combined family leave insurance program.


Funds from the Social Security Trust Fund could not be used or appropriated to make FMLI benefit payments. Instead, the Federal Family and Medical Leave Insurance Trust Fund would be set up in the Treasury to facilitate FMLI benefit payments.


The Internal Revenue Code would be amended to impose a tax on every individual and employer, all self-employment income, plus railroad employees, their representatives, and employers to finance the FMLI benefits. Taxes would be imposed on both employers and employees at a rate of 0.2 percent on the wages of each. This would lead to taxes of $72 per year for workers at the median weekly wage, or $227 per year for the highest earners according to the bill's proponents.

Impact

All workers and taxpayers, their spouses and children, employers and business owners, the newly created Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave, and the Dept. of the Treasury.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 786

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) believes that current laws allowing for unpaid medical leave are insufficient, and that paid leave needs to be available to more workers. Sen. Gillibrand's press release also noted that:

“for less than ONE tall brewed Starbucks coffee ($1.85) or about the cost of ONE venti latte per week (over $4) we could create a program that will be so beneficial for our families. The average full time working woman earning the median weekly wage would receive a total of $5,514.48 if she took the full 12 weeks of paid leave.”

This proposal has previously been criticized as unfriendly to small businesses and the self-employed. In addition, one critique noted that it doubly burdens taxpayers who would essentially be paying the “employer” half of the tax burden for public employees.


Of Note: California and New Jersey have been operating similar family and medical leave insurance programs since 2004 and 2009, respectively, that provide compensation up to two-thirds of a worker’s monthly earnings.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user theogeo)

AKA

Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act

Official Title

A bill to provide paid and family medical leave benefits to certain individuals, and for other purposes.

    Every other developed country has it. The United States needs to show that it too cares for its citizens.
    Like (19)
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    No! If you are that worried look into AFLAC and pay for it. This is not a reason to spend taxpayer dollars.
    Like (11)
    Follow
    Share
    Do away with antiquated theories of the bootstrap myth and the lone wolf myth.
    Like (13)
    Follow
    Share
    No. The existing program in adequate.
    Like (10)
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    This should be left to the private sector
    Like (7)
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    The congress has managed to engineer the U.S. into destructive inequality with tax breaks for wealthy individuals & corporations. And the systematic destruction of the social safety net & education. News flash: the government does NOT exist for the sole benefit of the wealthy although it is clear that the conservatives believe that ordinary citizens are worthless & deserve no part of the American promise. That means you, Sen. Rubio & Rep. DeSantis. I'm voting for THE DONALD. I sincerely hope he destroys your party for generations to come!
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    We already have a plethora of entitlement behemoths that need to be worked on without adding any more to the mix.
    Like (4)
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    Businesses an start their own employee sick leave without tax payers funding them.
    Like (4)
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    Raising taxes for everyone to create a paid sick leave program is ludicrous. This would encourage every worker to use all of their sick days whether they need to or not because they are paying more taxes for it. The average, hardworking American who comes into work almost everyday would be the one who suffers the most from a bill such as this one. It would decrease productivity in the workplace and in a time where many offices are stagnant, this is the last thing we need.
    Like (3)
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    Companies should offer sick leave not the government. A hard worker who comes in every day should be incentivized and rewarded with the ability to take time off for non-descript reasons including being sick. This should be the employers responsibility because we definitely do not need more government in the workplace. It is a "private" enterprise and most are too regulated already.
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    As Bill O'Riley said, don't harm the taxpayers and economy with the intention of compassion.
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    The Feds need to stop getting involved in every issue of our lives.
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    Hello no!
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    Every other first world country offers this and more. As someone who works in the private sector, I'm willing to pay more in taxes for this because private insurance would cost more and a disproportionate amount of my income already goes to insurance that does nothing for me.
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    The last thing we need is more money being taken from the American people to pay for those who can't make their own. This would only hurt the economy and increase the national debt.
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    Some states already have programs like this. While this is an issue worthy of discussion, it is better left to states rather than the same law enacted on all 350 million+ Americans. What works for Missouri may not work for New Jersey, for example.
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    this is not how to enforce paid sick leave. Once it is law, employers will fall into line.
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    If you don't work you don't get paid. Why should I pay for you to not work. Have each employee contribute to their own sick leave fund. If they don't use it they get it back upon termination or retirement. If they abuse it they lose it.
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    No new taxes for any reason !!!
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    No. Instead the government should mandate paid leave for ALL employees of the US. We must catch up to the rest of the world.
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