A proposal from Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy would allow new parents to access up to $5,000 in paid family leave to help cover the expenses of having or adopting a child.
Cassidy joined with Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to craft the plan where parents could pull forward future Child Tax Credit benefits.
“Think about these families struggling to make ends meet; we believe we’ve found a mechanism to help support those families during this critical time,” Cassidy said Tuesday in an interview with USA Today Network. Making the Child Tax Credit benefit flexible provides paid family leave without raising taxes, placing the burden on the employer or affecting future Social Security benefits, both senators said.
“There is no bigger kitchen table issue than a mother and a father being able to care for their newborn,” Cassidy said.
The benefit would also be available for parents who adopt children up to age 6.
Parents who choose the option would see a reduction to their Child Tax Credit benefit from $2,000 to $1,500 the following 10 years. The Child Tax Credit was increased from $1,000 to $2,000 per child as part of the tax reforms that took effect in 2017.
The Family and Medical Leave Act already guarantees eligible parents 12 weeks of unpaid leave without the threat of losing their jobs, but many mothers and fathers can’t afford to miss work without pay or suffer financial hardships when they do.
Cassidy cited statistics showing 50% of Americans who took unpaid leave in 2016 tapped savings to cover lost wages because of childcare expenses, while 37% took on debt and 41% cut their leave time short. Read the full story.