Benefits Insights, Spring 2018
In his State of the Union address, President Trump called for a policy of paid family leave in support of working families. The White House has also included a paid family leave plan in its 2019 budget proposal. The intent is to create a plan that would give both new and adoptive parents six weeks of paid family leave.
While the budget does not specify precisely how the plan would work, it is expected to use the existing unemployment insurance system as a base in which the cost of paid leave would be offset by reforms designed to reduce improper payments. Currently, workers and employers pay into the unemployment insurance system, and the states administer the program.
Under the White House plan, states would also be responsible for creating their own individual parental leave programs. Some states have already developed paid strategies of their own, including New York, California, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
Capitalizing on Trump’s endorsement, Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) and Ivanka Trump, advocates for the plan, have begun strategizing to win over skeptical Republicans on an issue that has been traditionally Democratic. To date, the emphasis has been on creating a policy that would neither raise taxes nor create an employer mandate, two concerns that have often prevented the Republican Party from supporting paid family leave.