To Members of Congress:
Many working parents would like to stay home with their new child after birth or adoption, but cannot afford to. Nearly half of American families live paycheck to paycheck, and oftentimes those who need paid family leave (PFL) the most don’t have the benefit through work. PFL allows parents to put their children first without fear of financial hardship, as well as providing flexibility in how much leave a family takes and who takes it.
Years of social science show that children have much better outcomes when they bond with their parents during their first few weeks of life. Research shows that the children of parents who took parental leave generally had better health, development, and academic outcomes. No family should have to sacrifice this fundamental relationship with their children just to make ends meet.
The New Parents Act (S. 920) and The Child Rearing and Development Leave Empowerment (CRADLE) Act are two iterations of paid family leave that would not create a new drain on the federal budget. Both bills allow eligible new parents to access Social Security benefits for paid family leave up to three months, differing slightly in how that benefit is offset.
Another example is a plan introduced by U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., that allows new parents to pull a $5000 benefit forward from their Child Tax Credit.
Paid family leave utilizing Social Security benefits or the Child Tax Credit does not mandate that employers provide paid family leave, nor does it require increased FICA withholding. Both of these plans won’t have a negative effect on wages or employment and they are both budget neutral. They do not create a new tax or add an additional entitlement to an already strained budget.
This issue has been on the backburner for far too long.
Do what is best for parents! Prioritize paid family leave!