We all want working parents to have the option to spend critical time at home with new babies. This can have great benefits for families, for our society, and for our economy.
Advocates of government-mandated paid leave often sell their proposals as common-sense solutions that will benefit everyone and bring the United States out of the dark ages. Sadly, however, a new federal entitlement program could reduce economic opportunities for workers, especially women.
The good news is that there’s a way to give working parents better parental leave options without expanding government. It requires no new taxes and is budget-neutral, gender-neutral, and completely voluntary.
This new, innovative approach is outlined in our new policy brief authored by Kristin Shapiro. The federal government could offer “Social Security parental benefits” by reforming the existing Social Security program. Eligible new parents could choose to receive paid parental benefits in exchange for deferring the collection of their Social Security retirement benefits for a brief period of time. In fact, preliminary estimates suggest that parents could obtain twelve weeks of paid parental benefits by postponing retirement benefits for just six weeks. This would be calculated using the disability formula.
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