How to Create a Paid Family Leave Plan that doesn’t backfire

“There’s no research-based reason to go below 12 weeks,” said Maya Rossin-Slater, an economist and expert on parental leave policies at Stanford. “You gain nothing and you actually lose some of the benefits, such as breastfeeding, maternal mental health and child vaccinations.”

The Biden plan will not provide job protection as of now. Democrats are trying to pass legislation under a process called budget reconciliation, which requires new policies to directly affect revenue and spending. A job protection authorization would not be appropriate.

Some workers will still have job protection under the Family and Medical Leave Act, but this does not cover nearly half of workers, including businesses with fewer than 50 employees and those employed for less than a year.

When paid leave does not include job protection, a significant proportion of workers are unlikely to take leave, even if they are eligible. Research shows that — especially Spanish workers, low income earners, those working in small businesses and part-time workers or those who change jobs frequently.

“My view is that if permits are not job-protected, they are barely permits,” said Christopher Ruhm, professor of public policy and economics at the University of Virginia. “There will be a lot of people who hesitate to use it, so it loses most of its usefulness.”

The plan would pay two-thirds of most workers’ average weekly wages of up to $4,000 per month and 85 percent of low-income wages, or about $1,000 per month.

Greater wage substitution for low-income workers increase the chance The lowest-paid people may need a pay change close to full pay to take leave, the researchers said. California, the first state to pass paid leave in 2002, increased its share of low-income substitution wages from 55 percent to 70 percent in 2016. Usage rates increased For those who earn $20,000 or more, but not for those who earn less.

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