U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) introduce their paid family leave plan.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) introduce their paid family leave plan.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) and Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-Missouri) introduced the “Economic Security for New Parents Act” to address the 85 percent of American workers who do not receive paid family leave after giving birth or adopting a child. 

This legislation creates an option for parents to pull forward a portion of their Social Security benefits to use for paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child.  It allows parents to take two months of parental leave,  which is enough to finance two months of leave at up to 70 percent of wages for nearly all parents making below median family income. Low-income parents could potentially fund three or four months.

The federal Family and Medical Leave Act guarantees eligible workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year which is 88 percent of the workforce.

“I personally know very few people who could go more than a week or two without a paycheck. I know very, very few people, certainly back home, who could go twelve weeks without getting paid. And the result is that today, the birth of a child for millions of Americans means they’re going to be depleting their savings, they’re going to be racking up credit card debt, they’re going to be potentially defaulting on a student loan, hurting their credit and their future prospects,” Rubio said on Thursday when he introduced the bill.

There are 10 reasons I like this bill:

  1. This bill addresses a real need for low-income two-income families and single parents. 
  2. It does not create a new entitlement. It instead leverages an existing entitlement that, for better or for worse, is not going away anytime soon.
  3. It does not raise taxes. 
  4. It is revenue-neutral. 
  5. It does not mandate employers to offer paid leave.
  6. It is optional for parents to use.
  7. It will help keep low-income parents off government assistance. 
  8. It’s better for children because the only alternative for many families is to go back to work right away.
  9. It is pro-life, because one consideration for a single mom, in particular, is lost income. Paid family leave could be an incentive for mothers who are in the midst of a crisis pregnancy to choose life.
  10. It does not crowd out, replace, or preclude employers or states who offer benefits.

Rubio and Wagner offer a solid solution that does not increase the size of the federal government, does not expand the budget, and does not put a strain on small businesses. Well done, I hope there is bipartisan support for this bill.

Read the bill:

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