The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) released a poll Tuesday which found Americans across the political spectrum approve of a paid family leave policy.
Seventy-three percent of Americans approve of such a policy, including 60 percent of conservatives or Republicans, 72 percent of Independents, 73 percent of moderates, 83 percent of Democrats, and 87 percent of liberals, support a paid family leave proposal.
The IWF released the poll as the House Ways and Means Committee will host a hearing Wednesday on paid family leave.
“Americans want a paid leave approach that threads the needle — providing support for parents who need it, but without unfairly shifting costs to others, growing government, or discouraging employers from providing benefits on their own,” IWF president Carrie Lukas said Tuesday.
Americans also widely agreed on two central tenets that would entail a federal paid family leave policy:
- Seventy-eight percent of Americans, 83 percent of liberals, and 79 percent of moderates believe that workers should have as much control and flexibility as possible over the benefits that would arise from a paid family leave proposal.
- Sixty-seven percent of Americans believe that a paid family leave plan should remain budget neutral over the long-term and should not increase the financial burden of those who do not choose to have children and do not need the benefit.
When asked about specific proposals, a majority of Americans, or 50 percent, approve of Earned Leave, a proposal that would let new parents access benefits they have already accrued through Social Security.
Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Mike Lee (R-UT) sponsored the Cradle Act, which would allow Americans to access their Social Security benefits to pay for a paid family leave program. The Social Security Administration (SSA) examined the financial impact of the legislation and found that the bill would have a “negligible effect” on the long-range health of Social Security.
In comparison, 45 percent of Americans approve of the FAMILY Act, sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), which would pay for a paid family leave policy through a new payroll tax; however, 54 percent of Americans believed that it was unfair to force every American to pay into a new program that they may not use.
Many Americans also have some concerns over paid family leave as well. Forty-nine percent of Americans remain concerned about potential abuses of the policy, 38 percent believe the policy might be unfair to those who do not have families or children, and 34 percent remain concerned about the policies’ ability to hinder businesses from offering their own benefits to their workers.
Fifty-eight percent of Americans strongly or somewhat agree that it remains important for Republicans and Democrats to compromise and find a solution on paid family leave that could pass through Congress.
To find a bipartisan solution, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) announced recently that he will work with Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ) on a bill that could pass through Congress.