While federal progress has stalled since the FMLA, states and cities have come up with innovative policies for filling in the gaps that persist. And we won’t stop fighting until all workers have a real right to the leave they need when they need it the most.
Recently, Congressional sponsors introduced a new version of the Strong Families Act. Despite its name, the bill would offer no real protections for families. If enacted, the bill would provide tax credits to employers ostensibly designed to encourage them to offer paid leave policies, but would not cover all workers. More broadly, tax credits are not an effective mechanism to ensure that all workers get the leave they need, especially low-income and part-time workers. In fact, tax credits may have negative unintended consequences, such as increasing disparities in access to paid leave and reducing available tax revenue to pay for important programs. In contrast, inclusive social insurance systems are a proven solution for providing paid family and medical leave already in place in states across the country.
America’s working families deserve a real paid family and medical leave law, like the proposed FAMILY Act, to ensure that all workers can get the leave they need when they need it. The FAMILY Act is a federal bill that would give workers the right to up to 12 weeks of paid leave to address their own serious health needs, bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill family member, or address needs arising out of a family member’s deployment. Benefits would be paid for through a social insurance system, making the program sustainable and cost-effective for both workers and employers. At A Better Balance, we’re proud to fight for the FAMILY Act and strong paid family and medical leave laws across the country. Strong families need a strong, workable paid leave program—not the Strong Families Act.