President Donald Trump’s federal
budget proposal, set to be released today, May 23, will include a program that
grants mothers and fathers up to six weeks of paid leave after the birth or
adoption of a child, with the states playing a key role in funding and
administering the program. Democrats in Congress want to see a more generous
benefit. Meanwhile, several companies expanded their paid parental leave
benefits this year, and a growing number of states are mandating that employers
provide paid leave to new parents.
Six Weeks Paid Leave for Mothers and Fathers
President Trump’s budget proposal will seek to create a
program to grant mothers and fathers six weeks of paid leave after the birth or
adoption of a child, White House budget officials said May 18. The details of
the program will be worked out through negotiation with Congress. The program
will not have an income limit, but high earners would see their benefit capped,
the officials said.
States Would Play a Leading Role
Under the Trump plan for paid parental leave, states would
be required to provide leave payments through existing unemployment insurance
programs and would have to identify cuts or tax hikes, as needed, to cover the
costs, officials said. The administration would provide support to state
governments to help them determine how to fund the program. States could opt
out if they created a different paid leave system.
Democrats Have Their Own Ideas
Democrats in Congress have proposed the Family and Medical
Insurance Leave Act, which would create a fund to provide for up to 12 weeks of
paid leave per year. The Healthy Families Act, another Democratic plan, would
allow workers to earn up to seven days of paid sick leave per year.
Corporations Expand Paid Parental Leave Programs
American Express expanded its paid parental leave policy to
20 weeks for all of its U.S.-based salaried employees—mothers and
fathers—beginning Jan. 1. Furniture retailer Ikea US also began providing 16
weeks of paid parental leave for employees this year, while tech company Etsy
made its employees eligible for 26 weeks of fully paid leave when they become a
parent. Accounting and professional services firm Ernst & Young increased
paid parental leave to 16 weeks.
State Benefits Outpace Trump Plan
New York passed the most generous state-backed family-leave
policy to date in 2016. The law allows for up to 12 weeks of paid time off for
new parents to bond with their child (including an adopted or foster child) and
permits the same leave to anyone who needs to care for a family member with a
serious medical condition or to handle responsibilities for a spouse, child or
parent called to active military service. California, Minnesota, New Jersey,
and Rhode Island have paid-family-leave policies as well.
Policy can be a controversial topic in the workplace, and
paid family leave has been one for years. At Converge HR Solutions, we
specialize in handbook and policy development that are customized to your
company and your practices, as well as legally compliant. For more information,
visit our website at https://convergehrsolutions.com/ or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-296-8550.
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