Paid Family Leave Debate Heats Up

Employment expert discusses pending family leave proposals

Paid Family LeaveMany large employers are starting to consider offering their employees paid family leave, but currently only 17% of workers have access to paid leave. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is seeking to ease this burden on American families by co-sponsoring a bill which would allow new parents to borrow from their Social Security benefits in order to take time off work.

“Paid family leave has stalled in Congress for years, despite the fact that surveys show that most Americans widely support paid family leave for mothers and even fathers,” says Rob Wilson, employment expert and President of Employco USA, a national employment-solutions firm with clients across the country.

Rubio’s bill would allow new moms and dads to borrow against their Social Security for up to 3 months of retirement benefits, whether they adopted or birthed a child.

“Rubio’s plan would not put any additional burden on taxpayers, and it has received support from both sides of the aisle,” says Wilson, “But it has not gone without criticism. Since the Social Security system is already so overburdened, many Americans fear that this is a plan that will fall apart quickly.”

President Trump has also stated that he supports paid family leave, and promised his 2020 fiscal plan would include up to 6 weeks of paid leave for new parents as well as improved childcare programs.

“The United States is the only country in the developed world that does not require employees to offer some form of paid leave for new mothers,” says Wilson. “Big companies like Microsoft are starting to make positive strides in this direction, such as by requiring their partners and suppliers to offer paid family leave, but we are still far behind other nations when it comes to the way we approach new parents in the workforce.”

A paid family leave proposal which has received strong Democratic support is the FAMILY Act sponsored by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

“Under this plan, employees would not dip into their Social Security benefits, but would rather make small payments (around $2/week) to create a sort of trust fund for their family leave in the future,” says Wilson.

“However, this is an additional tax increase which would fall to both employees and employers, making it undesirable for many voters.”

For more on this topic, please contact Rob Wilson at