Big boost for Ivanka's paid parental leave plan
Posted June 6
Ivanka Trump has a dream: That all new mothers and fathers in America can take paid time off to bond with their kid(s).
She's convinced her father to make "paid family leave" a priority, and now she's pushing Congress to act.
Her efforts got a big boost on Tuesday from a bipartisan group of Washington DC's top scholars. The group put out a report calling for the U.S. to enact paid family leave with a title that says it all: "Paid Family and Medical Leave: An issue whose time has come."
It calls for eight weeks of paid leave for mothers and fathers. New parents would be eligible to receive up to $600 a week.
"It's really true that no matter which side of the aisle you speak to, people agree the U.S. needs a paid family leave policy," says Aparna Mathur, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a right-leaning think tank. AEI and the Brookings Institute, a nonpartisan research group, issued the report.
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The U.S. is the only developed country in the world that does not have a national paid leave policy for parents. Poll after poll shows that the vast majority of Americans want this. A poll last year by Fortune and Morning Consult found 83% of Democrats and 71% of Republicans supported it.
The AEI-Brookings plan is being heralded as a great compromise between the right and the left.
"None of us found this compromise entirely to our liking," the report states, but "we believed this was better than doing nothing."
Ivanka got a sneak peak of the report before it came out. She tweeted praise for it on Monday night saying, "It's time to make America great for working families."
A source familiar with the meeting between Ivanka and the report's authors says the first daughter "loved it," and that she is very open to any policy proposals to achieve the goal, even if they differ from ideas put forth from the Trump campaign during the campaign.
In short, Ivanka is ready for a deal.
Donald Trump had originally called for six weeks of paid leave for new moms. Then the president expanded his plan to include all new parents, whether they adopt or have a natural birth.
One of the biggest debates is how to pay for family leave. The Trump administration wants to fund it through state unemployment insurance plans, but there are a lot of concern that there won't be enough money and that it doesn't cover enough workers.
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The AEI-Brookings proposal calls for a compromise: A small payroll tax -- similar to Social Security or Medicare taxes -- to pay for it and spending cuts in the federal budget to free up more money to make this happen.
Workers would need to have put in at least 1,000 hours with their employer before they would be eligible for the leave.
Currently, American workers are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. All the scholars involved in the report agreed that the plan doesn't work for working class families who can't afford to forfeit the income.