What the Democrats’ statewide paid family vacation plan could mean for workers
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, DN.Y., calls on Congress to make child care affordable, enact paid leave, support care infrastructure, and raise the debt ceiling on May 17, 2023 in Washington, DC
Paul Morigi | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Many workers at some point need to take vacation time to look after their own health or to look after a loved one. However, whether workers have access to these benefits is up to their employer or the state.
This week, Democrats in Washington stepped up efforts to create a national program that would give every worker access to paid family and medical leave.
“After ten years of fighting for paid furloughs, we are still the only developed nation without this vital program,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, DN.Y.
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A law allowing workers to take unpaid time off to care for loved ones or their own health — the Family and Medical Leave Act — recently turned 30th Anniversary.
Now, Gillibrand and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., are introducing an updated version of the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act.
“Thirty years ago, we laid the groundwork by enacting the Family and Medical Leave Act and providing unpaid family and medical leave to working Americans,” DeLauro said in a statement, referring to the law passed under President Bill Clinton .
“Let’s break new ground again by making it get paid,” DeLauro said.
What would the new paid family leave proposal cover?
The new version of the proposal comes after Democrats previously cut their proposal to four weeks furlough in hopes of including it in a broader package.
The bill now includes a partial income for up to 12 weeks of vacation. The typical full-time worker would earn about two-thirds of his normal wage, while low earners would be compensated about 85%.
The plan covers leave in the event of serious health problems affecting employees and family members or the birth or adoption of a child.
The new version of the bill would give workers time off to deal with the effects of domestic violence or sexual assault.
Further updates to the bill aim to update the definition of the modern family.
This includes a broader range of foster relationships, including spouses, civil or registered partners, children of all ages and their spouses, parents and their spouses, siblings and their spouses, grandparents and their spouses, grandchildren and their spouses, and other closely related persons either by blood or Relationship.
After ten years of fighting for paid leave, we are still the only industrialized nation without this vital program.
US Senator from New York
The bill would cover any worker who earned at least $2,000 in the past two years, regardless of whether that earnings is covered by Social Security tax. It also eliminates the unpaid waiting period for benefits that previously resulted in no benefits being available for the first five days of care.
The proposal would be funded by a 0.4% payroll tax levied on the Medicare taxable wage base.
Workers could continue to receive paid leave through government programsas long as the federal states can prove that they are at least as generous as the federal program.
“A real dynamic” in paid leave
Research has shown that introducing a federal paid family vacation program would have positive benefits.
The workers missed something around 28 billion US dollars Research by the Urban Institute has shown that wages between March 2020 and February 2022 were higher than in the previous two years.
The challenge, however, is to reach a cross-party agreement on a plan. Support for the FAMILY Act has traditionally been Democrats in both houses, noted Kathleen Romig, director of social security and disability policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
“To make a difference in this Congress, you need both Republicans and Democrats,” Romig said.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-California, at a rally in Washington, DC in August 2020 organized by the Paid Leave for All cross-country bus tour.
Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images News | Getty Images
While Republicans have shown interest in implementing paid leave policies, a sticking point between the parties is how to fund those plans.
While Democrats have proposed using payroll taxes to fund paid vacations, Republicans have generally talked about funding such a plan by having people borrow against other benefits, such as Social Security benefits or child tax credits, Romig noted.
Still, there is reason to be optimistic about paid leave, Romig said.
“While I don’t think this particular bill will come into force this year, I also think there is real momentum here,” Romig said.
https://www.cnbc.com/2023/05/18/what-democrats-national-paid-family-leave-plan-could-mean-for-workers.html What the Democrats’ statewide paid family vacation plan could mean for workers