Yesterday, President Trump unveiled his new budget plan. Along with controversial plans to fund construction of a wall on the southern border and to cut funding for Medicare and Medicaid, the budget also includes a proposal for paid parental leave.
President Trump’s daughter Ivanka has been advocating for federal paid parental leave since the beginning of the administration in 2017. And the president touted the idea during his State of the Union address in February.
President Trump’s plan would provide six weeks of paid leave to new mothers and fathers, including adoptive parents, to recover from childbirth and to bond with a new child. The plan would be administered at the state level, and is anticipated to be offered through programs based on unemployment insurance.
Notably, the Trump Administration’s paid leave proposal is more limited in scope than the unpaid leave currently available under the FMLA. That law provides up to twelve weeks of leave, which can be used in connection with serious medical conditions and military deployments in addition to caring for a new child.
It’s unclear whether the President’s proposal will actually become law, but the idea is extremely popular with the public (about 85% favor it), and there does appear to be growing support in Congress for some form of paid family leave. Last year, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) proposed family leave paid for through Social Security. And in recent weeks, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) and Connecticut Representative Rosa DeLauro (D) reintroduced a bill called the Family Act which would provide full-time employees with 66% of their monthly wages for up to twelve weeks for birth or adoption, or to care for their own serious medical condition or that of a family member.
Right now, the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not offer some kind of paid family leave. A small handful of states – California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York, Washington – already have paid family leave. Massachusetts enacted paid family and medical leave last year, and workers will be able to start collecting benefits in 2021.