- With constant media attention being paid to the U.S. lack of paid parental leave, especially maternity leave, an amazing change is in the air, as both liberals and conservatives may be starting to agree that paid parental leave is something the country desperately needs.
- Earlier this week, The Atlantic reported that a Republican-backed think tank, the American Action Forum, proposed a way for the nation to implement much needed paid maternity, paternity and caregiver leave. More surprising, the new plan is structured like an entitlement ― a government benefit for lower-income Americans of the sort that small-government, deficit conscious conservatives typically detest.
- While universal paid family-leave benefits are baked into the current Democrat platform, Republicans have offered some proposals of their own. Presidential candidate Donald Trump offered child care tax breaks, and GOP bills in Congress would provide tax credits to employers who offer paid leave or allow employees to accrue time off instead of income for working overtime.
The AAF proposal would establish a paid-leave benefit providing up to $3,500 over 12 weeks to workers with an annual income below $28,000. Ben Gitis, who wrote the paper, told the Atlantic there has been a trend in the last few years where more conservatives have been "interested in trying to find solutions to expand family leave," but the missing ingredient was "something that’s really targeted for low-income people."
The plan represents a less expensive, much more limited alternative to the Family Act, the Democratic proposal in Congress sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut.
Employers following the issue should know that not all parties on the right are on board. Conservatives such as the Club for Growth and FreedomWorks both criticized the plan as either "social engineering through the tax code” or too expensive.