House Dems press Trump on paid leave plan

Ivanka Trump’s proposal for a guaranteed paid family leave program is encountering resistance from Democrats who say it doesn’t go far enough after she tried to make the case for it last week.

In a letter to her father, President Trump, on Monday, more than 100 House Democrats expressed concerns with the proposal’s funding mechanism and limited applicability.

Ivanka Trump, who also serves as a White House adviser, penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week defending her plan as a response to a critical editorial in the newspaper.

{mosads}She wrote that her plan would be “an investment in America’s working families.” The proposal as outlined in the Trump administration’s budget would provide six weeks of paid leave for new parents, funded by the nation’s unemployment insurance program.

“To this end, we are working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to design a paid-leave policy that provides a targeted benefit to help the people who need it the most and are least likely to receive it from their employer, without discouraging larger companies from developing more generous policies,” Ivanka Trump wrote.

But Democrats pointed to legislation authored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) that they say offers a more comprehensive alternative. U.S. employers currently aren’t required by law to allow even one day of paid parental leave.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does ensure certain workers can get up to 12 weeks of leave for family responsibilities, but it does not require that the time off is a paid benefit. Time off under the law can be used for the birth or adoption of a child, care for an immediate family member or the employee’s own health needs.

“We appreciate your interest in paid leave; however we are concerned that the proposal included in your 2018 budget request is inadequate because it only provides six weeks of paid leave for limited circumstances and without a solid funding mechanism,” the Democrats wrote in the letter to President Trump.

They noted that the six-week duration was “inconsistent” with the 12-week standard established by the FMLA. Moreover, the Democratic lawmakers warned that using the unemployment insurance system to pay for the benefit would “place this program at further financial risk.”

Under the legislation introduced earlier this year by DeLauro, workers would be guaranteed up to 12 weeks of paid time off for any of the reasons outlined by the FMLA, rather than only for a new child. It would be funded through contributions made by both the employer and employee.

The Trump administration is also encountering resistance from the GOP on its paid leave proposal.

Republicans have appeared skeptical of the proposal laid out in the president’s budget, which would spend $19 billion over the next 10 years for the paid parental leave plan.

Ivanka Trump has made trips to Capitol Hill in recent weeks to meet with GOP lawmakers about paid parental leave, including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.).

Some Republicans have offered different proposals for family leave programs. Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.), for instance, wants to allow employees to have the option of creating a Parental Savings Account to save money for their time off. Employers would not be required to contribute.

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