Biden’s Paid Leave Proposal

President Joe Biden recently revealed his plan for an established national paid family and medical leave program in 2025. This program will be administered by the Social Security Administration.

This program would give eligible employees as many as 12 weeks of leave. Eligible leave includes time to care for and bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, heal from a serious illness, address any circumstances from a loved one’s military deployment, or find safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

The budget Biden proposed also includes provisions such as an expansion to the Child Tax Credit, strengthening Medicare drug-pricing negotiations, and tackling the issue of child labor.

While a divided Congress makes it unlikely for Biden’s budget items to become law, they are poised to open a larger conversation centered on paid leave. Biden’s paid leave program stands to open a larger conversation surrounding paid leave.

Even though a paid leave program doesn’t exist in the United States, many employers have implemented their own paid leave benefits programs. 27% of private industry workers have access to paid family leave. Almost 40% of employers provide paid parental leave (Employee Benefits in the United States Summary, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Paid medical and parental leave contributes to reduced stress and financial insecurity for families and also improves retention, productivity, and workforce participation for employers.

Federal law, however, does provide for limited unpaid leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows employees to balance their work and family life by taking unpaid, job-protected leave for certain medical reasons. Eligible employees can receive up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave in 12 months. To qualify for FMLA an employee must work for an employer for at least 12 months; work at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months before the start of FMLA leave, and work at a location with at least 50 employees; or within 75 miles thereof.

Lockaby PLLC will continue to monitor the status of the proposal and we will keep our readers updated.


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