Trump's latest budget proposal includes paid family leave mandate

Dive Brief:

  • Paid family leave will be featured in President Donald Trump's proposed federal budget, The Washington Post reports. Senior White House budget officials announced the plan, which includes six weeks of paid leave for mothers and fathers.
  • Budget officials unveiled a paid family leave plan in September for only biological mothers, says the Post. Democrats and gender-equality proponents wanted a more comprehensive plan that also covered fathers and adoptive parents. Most Republicans opposed all paid leave plans.
  • Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a supporter of paid family leave, might oversee the program's construction. The revised plan, one of a few big-ticket, non-military expenditures in the president's budget, has an estimated cost of $25 billion over 10 years.

Dive Insight:

The U.S. is one of few industrialized countries without paid family leave. Companies, states and municipalities have adopted programs without a nod from congressional lawmakers of either party. In some cases, these plans faced pushback from business groups and local Republican legislators.

Employers must wait and see whether the president's endorsement of paid family leave ends all opposition. Ivanka Trump, a long-time proponent of paid family leave, led a working group on the topic in January, following the Trump campaign's proposal on mandatory maternity leave. Therefore, the budget office's announcement likely came as no surprise to employers.

Perhaps the biggest concern for employers, especially small to midsize organizations, is how the program will be funded. A Pew study shows workers want paid family leave but want employers to cover the cost, not the government. Business groups and Republican lawmakers generally oppose paid family leave because they say the cost is burdensome on employers.

The budget office revealed few details about funding the program, per the report, but it outlined a few details: States may have the ability to design their own programs, unemployment insurance would likely cover the cost of fathers' benefits and the program will cap high-earners' benefits.

If Congress approves the budget — which is not a given so long as disagreements exist between Republican moderates and hardliners — employers will need to ensure they comply with their state's provisions.

Filed Under: Comp & Benefits Legal
Top image credit: Eric Ward