Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) says he will unveil a bill this week that will let workers finance parental leave by delaying retirement.
"Falling rates of marriage and childbirth, coupled with the loss of stable, good-paying employment in a rapidly shifting global economy are making young families socially and financially insecure," Rubio and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) write in a USA Today op-ed published today. (Wagner will be introducing similar legislation in the House.) "Today, having a child can be an income shock matched only by college tuition or a down payment on a home," the lawmakers add.
Rubio's legislation, dubbed the Economic Security for New Parents Act, doesn't force employers to pay for their workers' time off. Rather, it allows mothers and fathers to pay their expenses while on leave using their future Social Security benefits. "Parents taking the option would receive monthly payments that will help cover costs like rent, groceries and new baby supplies during a time of significant income constraints," the lawmakers write. In return, parents must put off retirement for three to six months. The conservative Independent Women's Forum first laid out the idea in a January paper.
Rubio and Wagner say the tradeoff is more than fair. "The financial constraints workers face in the first few weeks after having a child and those after turning 65 years old are not equal," they write. "Our proposal would be a consistent application of Social Security's original principle—to provide assistance to dependents in our care—to the challenges of today."