Family Values @ Work

Trump’s Paid Leave Proposal Fails to Deliver for Working Families

Trump’s Paid Leave Proposal Fails to Deliver for Working Families

May 23, 2017

Statement from Family Values @ Work

The country urgently needs and wants a paid leave program. The mention of paid family leave in the president’s budget is a testament to the power of our movement and the overwhelming urgency and popular support for such a program. Success in California, New Jersey and Rhode Island and new models being developed by other states are helping pave the way for a sustainable, affordable federal proposal that we already know will work and meets the “Triple A” test: accessible, affordable and adequate for all workers who need time to care for themselves, a new child, or for a seriously ill family member. Such a proposal, the FAMILY Act, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillebrand and Rep. Rosa DeLauro, is before Congress right now.

The Trump budget proposal as described is unworkable. This proposal will exclude nearly four-fifths of those who need affordable leave. Even those who aren’t parents have parents or partners or loved ones who may need looking after, or may themselves experience a disease or injury. Military families need time to care for the wounded. It’s high time we stop punishing people who want to take care of their loved ones or need time to heal.

The President’s plan also short-changes families by relying on already overburdened state Unemployment Insurance programs. Even for parents of new children, this plan does not deliver. The low wage replacement rates of unemployment programs (about one-third the wages of an average worker) mean too little money as well as too little time for millions of low- and middle-income parents, who will continue to be forced back to work much too soon. Many states would provide a benefit only by cutting benefits for others and limiting eligibility – for example, denying benefits to same-sex or unmarried couples. Funding is to come from eliminating fraud in the program. But given the lack of widespread fraud, this proposal has states pitting new parents against newly unemployed for limited benefits.

The proposal comes as part of a budget that would spell disaster for women and families, with its unconscionable cuts in health, child care, and food programs and other work supports. The only thing it does deliver on is giant tax cuts for the wealthiest corporations and individuals. Congressional representatives who truly value families will reject this budget.

If the administration wants to ensure a national paid leave program, they should support the FAMILY Act.

Family Values @ Work is a network of coalitions in 24 states working for — and winning — paid family and medical leave and paid sick and safe days. For more information, contact Leslie Patterson, leslie@berlinrosen.com, or go to http://familyvaluesatwork.org/

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