Should the US provide paid family leave? (S786)

Summary of Congressional bill S 786 (114th):

  • Gives workers up to 60 workdays (or 12 weeks) of paid leave in a given year.
  • Pay is up to 66% of their monthly income, with a minimum of $580 and a maximum of $4,000 per month.
  • Can be used toward maternity and paternity leave and serious health conditions for oneself, a parent, spouse, domestic partner, or child.
  • Paid for by a 0.2% payroll tax paid by the employee and also the employer.

In Depth:

  • Job protection exists in companies with over 50 employees through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993.

Vote Yes if you believe:

  • Workers should not have to choose between their physical and financial well-being. #PaidLeave
  • It is not right that the US is the only developed (OECD) nation that does not provide paid maternity leave. #DevelopedCountries #PaidLeave
  • Better overall health, both physical and mental, will lead to better overall economic outcomes. #Healthcare
  • The benefits of a healthier, more productive workforce will outweigh the cost of an additional 0.2% payroll tax. #CostBenefit #PayrollTax

Vote No if you believe:

  • States should handle paid family and medical leave. #StateAuthority
  • Higher payroll taxes to employers will discourage hiring. #Jobs #JobCreation
  • Workers already have access to unpaid leave. #PaidLeave
  • The American people are already taxed enough. #Taxes

Congress.gov link to S 786

(This is the 1st draft of the summary for a bill in Polinav. Summary & In-Depth is non-partisan & Vote yes/no reasons are fact-checked. if you think something is wrong, should be added or deleted, comment below!)


I think this is a no brainer. We’re the only developed country without paid federally mandated maternity leave & one of a few without paid paternity leave. In researching this, I also discovered that we’re the only developed country without federally mandated vacation days and sick days!

The latter two aren’t as big of an issue here in the US, because the majority of Americans do actually get those through their employers, but less than 20% of Americans get paid family leave. Further, 3 US states have actually implemented paid family leave and results have so far shown that it has not had a negative impact on business.

One point that I got stuck on here, though, was about the job security. Job security isn’t guaranteed if you work in a small business (<50 employees). At first I was a bit concerned about this, but I could understand the small business perspective: having someone gone for 3 months can significantly impact the company and an immediate replacement may be needed. On that point, I hope we can create a better labor market here in the US soon. Our top-line unemployment numbers are good, but we still have high numbers of part-time workers who want more hours.

So, this is common sense. We should support our families. I would want my representatives to vote YES on this bill!

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