Wednesday, February 6, 2019

President Trump calls for federal paid family leave during State of the Union

Yesterday was the 26th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act being signed into law. During last night's State of the Union Address, President Trump called for Congress to make paid family leave a federal law.

I am also proud to be the first president to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave — so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child.

The devil is very much in the details. We have zero idea what this law would look like.

  • Who will pay for the leave — employers, directly via payroll, or employees, indirectly via a tax the funds a government benefit pool?
  • How much paid leave will the law provide — 6 weeks, 12 weeks, more, less?
  • What family issues will be entitled to paid leave — just childbirth, the same scope as the FMLA, or will be it broaden protections to other parental issues such as school-related events?
  • Which employers will it cover — those with 50 more more employees, 25 or more, or even smaller?

Before we heap too much praise on this effort, we need to know details. Still, 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 world on what appears for everyone else to be a non-controversial issue. Anything that moves this debate forward is an effort worth applauding.