Budget proposal includes paid family leave for mothers, fathers

Posted by Charles Middleton on 06/14/2017

Q: President Donald Trump has included a paid family leave program in his first budget proposal. What's in the proposal?

A: The president's recently announced budget proposal expands the plan announced during the campaign that would have provided paid family leave only to new mothers. The new proposal will include the creation and funding of a program to provide both mothers and fathers with six weeks of paid time off after the birth or adoption of a child. The new proposal also expands the benefit to adoptive parents rather than limiting benefits to new births.

Q: How would the proposed family leave program differ from benefits currently available to new parents under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)?

A: Currently, under the FMLA, employees who have worked for at least 12 months for an employer with 50 or more employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of a child. However, leave under the FMLA is unpaid. In contrast, the president's new proposal would provide six weeks of paid employment leave to mothers or fathers in connection with the birth or placement for adoption of a child. The president's proposal wouldn't be limited to employees who work for employers of a certain size.

Q: If it's not run through the employer, how will the proposed program operate?

A: The proposed new benefit would be paid through the nation's unemployment insurance system.

Q: Are there any income limits on which employees can participate in the leave program?

A: No. However, high earners would have a capped benefit amount.

Q: What are the estimated costs of the proposed program?

A: The estimated cost of the program is about $25 billion over 10 years. The White House estimates that 1.3 million people would benefit from the proposed program.

PAULA BURKES, BUSINESS WRITER

Published The Oklahoman, June 13, 2017