Home / Media / Article




March 12 2019

Congress considers parental leave programs

WCIA
featuring Patrice Lee Onwuka

Part of President Trump's budget proposal includes paid family leave.

According to U.S. Labor statistics, only 17% of U.S. workers can count on their employer to pay them while they stay home with their newborns.

Both Republicans and Democrats support the plan, but it's unclear if they can agree on the details.

Many say the first few weeks after birth can be the most precious for new parents and their babies. But Labor Department statistics show just a small fraction of families can afford to take the time off.

Only 17% of workers get paid parental leave.

"As a nation, we can do better for our families."

Tuesday, Republican Senators Joni Ernst and Mike Lee introduced a conservative solution to a problem disproportionally impacting working women.

"It's long overdue that Congress have a conversation on these matters, but get serious."

Under their plan, eligible workers could tap their Social Security funds early to help pay for up to three months of time off. Groups like the Independent Women's Forum praised the idea.

"Now is the time for these innovative ideas."

But, here's the catch. Once it's time to retire, parents will have to wait that same amount of time to get their Social Security money back.

"It's not mandatory and it's not a tax on individuals."

"It's a trade-off, but a trade-off I think many would be willing to take."

Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown sternly disagrees, arguing the solution would erode an already unstable Social Security program.

"It's a terrible trade-off. It's a half-hearted attempt to do family and medical leave. It's just bad policy."

Talks are still in the early stages and lawmakers hope to work together to find a solution both sides can agree on.

During this year's State of the Union address, the president vowed to make paid parental leave a top initiative. There are several Democratic and GOP plans floating around right now. His administration has yet to back one single idea.


Go Back



Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
Follow us