Liberal think tank: GOP paid parental leave proposals are too narrow

Liberal think tank: GOP paid parental leave proposals are too narrow
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The left-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP) issued a report Tuesday arguing that Republicans' paid leave proposals are too narrow because they only provide paid leave to new parents.

"Policymakers who promote these narrow proposals minimize the breadth and depth of families’ caregiving challenges and fail to respond to the needs of families when they experience a serious illness or injury," CAP's Diana Boesch wrote in the report. "For children and families to truly benefit under a paid leave policy, policymakers must ensure that workers have access to comprehensive paid family and medical leave."

The report comes as Republicans have shown a growing interest in pursuing paid parental leave legislation. The issue has been a top priority of Ivanka TrumpIvana (Ivanka) Marie TrumpTrump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day Trump hosts pastor who says 'Jews are going to hell' at White House Hanukkah party CEO group pushes Trump, Congress on paid family, medical leave MORE, the president's daughter and adviser.

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE's budgets have called for at least six weeks of paid leave for parents after the birth or adoption of a child. A group of Republicans, including Sens. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioWhite House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform Tom Hanks weighs in on primary: 'Anybody can become president' GOP senator blocks bill aimed at preventing Russia election meddling MORE (Fla.) and Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneySenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump Trump hosts pastor who says 'Jews are going to hell' at White House Hanukkah party MORE (Utah) and Reps. Ann WagnerAnn Louise WagnerGroup of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' Mnuchin expresses concerns about proposed taxes on financial trades Fed's top regulator takes heat from both parties MORE (Mo.) and Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawHouse GOP criticizes impeachment drive as distracting from national security issues Saagar Enjeti: Crenshaw's conservatism will doom future of GOP Conservatives seek to stifle new 'alt-right' movement steeped in anti-Semitism MORE (Texas), introduced legislation in March that would allow new parents to receive paid-leave benefits in the form of early Social Security benefits. In exchange, the new parents would have to increase their Social Security retirement age by three to six months per leave or receive a reduction in their Social Security benefits for the first five years of their retirements. 

Sens. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeSenators zero in on shadowy court at center of IG report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Five takeaways on Horowitz's testimony on Capitol Hill MORE (R-Utah) and Joni ErnstJoni Kay ErnstWhite House makes push for paid family leave and child care reform Houston police chief stands by criticism of McConnell, Cruz, Cornyn: 'This is not political' Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE (R-Iowa) have also put forth a similar paid parental leave proposal linked to Social Security. Sen. Bill CassidyWilliam (Bill) Morgan CassidyThis bipartisan plan is the most progressive approach to paid parental leave Obstacles remain for deal on surprise medical bills Key House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills MORE (R-La.) is also expected to offer a bipartisan paid-leave proposal in the near future with Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), but has not provided many details about what the plan will look like.

Lee and Ernst said in a Q&A document that they focused their plan on paid parental leave because the future of Social Security depends on parents having children who become taxpaying adults. They also said that parental leave, unlike sick leave, is planned, making it easier to accurately calculate a federal benefit.

But CAP said it's important for paid-leave proposals to provide benefits for other leaves in addition to after the birth or adoption of a child.

The think tank analyzed data in a 2012 survey conducted for the Department of Labor and found that only about 18 percent of leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) in the preceding 12 months were to care for a new child, while most time people took was used either to care for their own illness or a family member's illness. The FMLA guarantees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave annually.

CAP also said that a paid-leave benefit that only helps new parents would "not benefit children whose parents and caregivers needed access to other types of leaves."

CAP's analysis of the 2012 survey found that more than half of leaves taken under the FMLA were taken by workers who were caring for children. Only about one-third of those leaves were to care for a new child.

Additionally, the analysis of the 2012 survey found that about 28 percent of leaves taken to care for a relative were taken to care for a child.

"Only a comprehensive paid family and medical leave policy would ensure that children can be cared for when they have serious illnesses or injuries, or when their parent or caregiver has a serious medical condition," the report stated.

While CAP's report was critical of GOP proposals focused on benefits for new parents, the report was positive about legislation introduced by Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandAdvocacy groups decry Trump's 'anti-family policies' ahead of White House summit This bipartisan plan is the most progressive approach to paid parental leave Bombshell Afghanistan report bolsters calls for end to 'forever wars' MORE (D-N.Y.), known as the FAMILY Act, that would provide paid leave to workers to care for a new child, their own illness and family members with illnesses.

Gillibrand is running for president, and several other presidential candidates also back her proposal. Gillibrand's bill would be paid for through a small increase in payroll taxes.

"Only a comprehensive paid family and medical leave proposal, such as the FAMILY Act, will provide a real solution for workers, children, and families," CAP wrote.