People on the right and the left are concerned that some Americans don’t have paid leave time off from work, which can create a particular hardship for new parents and people with family members facing a serious illness. The Trump campaign highlighted this as an issue that they planned to address during his presidency.
The challenge has always been how to create a program that doesn’t discourage employers from providing their own leave benefits, require new taxes (which would lower people’s take home pay), or reduce job opportunities. These are all problems with the typical approach to the issue, which is to create a new entitlement program or mandate on employers.
Kristin Shapiro has developed an innovative alternative approach: Reform the Social Security program so that people have the option of taking benefits for qualifying time off from work in exchange for delaying their retirement benefits to compensate for the benefits they receive while working.
The benefits of the approach are many: Workers could be eligible to receive benefits earlier in their careers, when they tend to have the greatest financial need. This approach would preserve flexibility (no one would have to use these leave benefits if they didn’t want to). Most importantly, this reform would provide support to people who really need it, but without growing government or changing economic incentives.
Read this briefing paper published by Independent Women’s Forum to learn more about this innovative new idea, which has the potential to be both a policy and political winner.