A team of big-name Republicans has come together to push forward a paid family leave policy to help new parents take time off from work following the birth or adoption of their child.
Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) joined Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo) to come up with a policy that would allow new parents to dip into Social Security for up to three months in order to spend time with their child without risking financial security.
The New Parents Act would allow parents to choose to take one to three months off from work to care for their newborn. An average family earning $60,000 per year could receive two-thirds of their standard earnings for the period in which they are away from work with the newborn.
In turn, the parents would choose between delaying their Social Security collection at retirement for three to six months per one month they take off.
So if a parent opted to take three months of leave with their newborn, their retirement and pending Social Security collection could be delayed by as much as nine months. If parents do not wish to delay retirement, they can opt to take a lesser Social Security check for the first five years to pay back the time off.
In a press release about the new legislation, Rubio explained that this option would allow new parents to take leave without raising taxes or creating a new bureaucratic agency:
“Our economic policies have left young, working families behind at a time when our marriage and childbirth rates are falling. It is time to realign our economic policies in support of American families, which is why I am proud to re-introduce the New Parents Act. My legislation does not raise taxes or expand bureaucracy. This option would be available to working and stay-at-home moms and dads alike giving young parents much-needed flexibility in how they choose to use their money for their family leave.”
Today we re-introduced #PaidFamilyLeave bill.
It creates OPTION to pull forward a small portion of YOUR social security benefits to provide income after birth of child.
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 27, 2019
Crenshaw echoed this sentiment, calling the legislation a “rare” opportunity:
“It is rare that we get the chance to drastically improve the lives of hard-working families with no long-term impact on our budget. By giving families temporary access to future funds when they’re growing their family, we are helping Americans when they need it most. This will be a life-changing option.”
Families are forced to choose between their financial well-being and the well-being of their child. That’s wrong. Let’s fix it. pic.twitter.com/3gLfILuYIL
— Rep. Dan Crenshaw (@RepDanCrenshaw) March 27, 2019
This is not the only paid family leave legislation being floated by Republicans. As IJR Red previously reported, Senators Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) recently proposed a similar policy called the CRADLE Act.
The main difference between the two pieces of legislation is that the New Parent Act provides different methods of paying back social security for the leave. The CRADLE Act only requires a delayed retirement of two months per one month of leave taken.
It isn’t yet clear if Democrats will get on board with the policy. Some, including Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), have claimed it doesn’t go far enough to help new parents because the money must be paid back to Social Security. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) had a similar critique, as IJR Blue noted.
"parents earning less than the $60000 median family income would receive leave pay equal to about two-thirds of their wages. Upon retirement, the recipients of paid family leave could choose to delay their Social Security benefits by three to six months."
This is not paid leave. https://t.co/YJSdKdoIbE
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) March 27, 2019
On the right, some are not thrilled with the idea of the government getting involved with paid family leave at all. The libertarian think-tank at the Mercatus Center claimed last year that Social Security could not afford this policy, which has been another concern from some on the right.