Thursday, March 2, 2017

President Trump utters the phrase “paid family leave,” but what does it mean?

My administration wants to work with members in both parties to make childcare accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents have paid family leave.
These were the words of President Trump during his joint address to Congress this past Tuesday night. While the administration has said little else about this “paid family leave” plan, Ivanka Trump, who has made this a priority to address in her dad’s administration, has given us some insight.

According to Bloomberg Politics, Ms. Trump recently met with members of both the House and Senate to discuss her proposals for affordable childcare and paid family leave:
  • Provide a tax deduction for the cost of child care expenses for individuals earning less than $250,000 a year, or couples earning less than $500,000, with lower-income families without any tax liability receiving a rebate in the form of a larger earned income tax credit.
  • Guarantee six weeks of paid maternity leave by amending state unemployment insurance systems, which are already largely under-funded. This plan omits adoptive parents, who would still have unpaid FMLA leave available if they qualify, and any reason for a leave of absence other the birth of a child. It also omits fathers, which may have serious constitutional equal protection hurdles to overcome. 
The United States remains the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee working mothers paid time off after childbirth, and we lag behind most of the rest of world on other paid family leave. Frankly, it’s embarrassing, and it’s high time we joined the rest of the civilized (and, apparently, less than civilized) world on what appears for everyone else to be a non-controversial issue.
We as a nation need to provide better for our working parents. Ms. Trump’s plan is a small step in that direction, but we can, and should, do so much better.