Monday, July 23, 2018

Paid Family Leave

“I’m a bereaved mother from a deep red state who is a proud conservative and advocate for paid family leave. I came to this place in life after my infant son, Shepard, died in his sleep at a state-licensed day care facility in Oklahoma when he was just 11 weeks old. Unfortunately, the manner of Shepard’s death happens too frequently in America. … Of the 3,500 infant sleep deaths that occur annually, 20 percent of those occur outside of a parents care.”
Ali Dodd

This is not a call for paid day care. Day care would continue to facilitate both parents of young children being outside the home. This is a call for paid family leave which would facilitate a parent staying in the home with young children.

The Senate Subcommittee on Social Security, Pensions, and Family Policy held a hearing on Examining the Importance of Paid Family Leave for American Working Families Wednesday, July 11, 2018.

Chairman Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) noted, “As a doctor, I am concerned about infant and maternal health. At 6 per 1,000 live births, infant mortality is higher in the United States than in 25 of 28 other developed countries. A recent study reports that if a new mother takes paid leave, readmittance rates for her and her infant decrease by 50%. (February 2018, Maternal & Child Health Journal.)”

Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) drew attention to an EY survey on the views of US employers and employees on paid family and medical leave. He also noted the Independent Women’s Forum “first put forward this idea” and IWF President Carrie Lukas laid it out in an opinion piece for The Federalist.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) testified, “For the past few months, I have been working with Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee on the issue of paid leave. We have been exploring how new parents could elect to receive a paid leave benefit through Social Security. In return for receiving these benefits, participants would defer the collection of their Social Security benefits upon retirement. We are still working through the complexities but I am hopeful we can craft a policy that will benefit families who need paid leave the most.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) drew attention to her legislation, S. 337, the FAMILY Act which would modify the Social Security Act and the Internal Revenue Code and would cost “as much as a cup of coffee per week.” The House version is H.R. 947.

Andrew G. Biggs, Ph.D. noted, “proposals to provide paid parental leave financed by employers, workers or the government each have potential disadvantages” and addressed several concerns with a Social Security-based proposal.

Carolyn O’Boyle testified about Deloitte’s experiences with implementing its own paid family leave program. With “more than 5,000 Deloitte professionals” having accessed the program, and “projected costs were significantly lower than we originally anticipated.”

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