Is Federal Paid Leave on the Horizon?

Earlier this week, President Biden announced the American Families Plan (the Plan). The Plan will:

  • Ensure workers receive partial wage replacement to take time to bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one’s military deployment, find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, heal from their own serious illness, or take time to deal with the death of a loved one. 
  • Phase in paid leave over a 10-year period and guarantee 12 weeks of paid parental, family, and personal illness/safe leave by year 10 of the program.
  • Provide workers with three days of bereavement leave per year starting in year one.
  • Provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers.

The current Plan carries a hefty price tag of $225 billion, which could be funded at least in part by a proposed increase in the income tax rate for the top 1 percent of American income earners and various other tax reforms targeted at the very wealthy.

But how likely is it that anyone will have to start budgeting for this any time soon? The Plan shouldn’t run up against too much friction in the House. However, support in the Senate could pose a problem. Unless 60 Senators support (or won’t impede) the Plan, it will probably be blocked by a filibuster. Even if the Plan were to garner enough support to pass, it would almost certainly require significant compromise and look very different in its final form. Stay tuned.

Please note this current global emergency and applicable laws, regulations, proposals, guidance, advice, and responses change rapidly. We strive to keep you up to date as much as possible, but this blog article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Contact myHRcounsel with questions concerning specific facts and circumstances.