Should All Workers Get Paid Family Leave? This Senator Says Yes (March 18, 2015)

If one of your parents suddenly gets sick, could you afford to take time off from work? What if you had a baby? Sure, you could take the time, but would your paycheck keep rolling in? Many Americans can confidently say “yes” to these questions, but most cannot. A new piece of legislation aims to change that.

The FAMILY Act is a bill introduced today in the U.S. Senate calling for universal paid family leave. If passed, the law would require U.S. companies to offer their workers paid leave for childbirth, spousal support, and personal medical reasons.

These payments wouldn’t come right out of the company’s bottom line. Under theĀ proposed law, workers would make small contributions to a federal trust fund that would fund the paid leave.

Currently, firms with more than 50 employees are legally required to offer 12 weeks of unpaid leave to workers who become new parents. While many companies go the extra mile to offer paid family leave, there’s nothing legally requiring them to do so. In fact, the U.S. is unusual among developed countries in not offering the benefit. And it’s precisely this imbalance that Senator Kirsten Gillibrand aims to level out with the introduction of the FAMILY Act.

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