WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) and Angus King (I-Maine) and Representatives Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) and Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) have introduced bipartisan paid leave legislation. The bill, the Strong Families Act, would encourage employers to offer Americans up to 12 weeks of paid family leave.
“Today we are introducing a new version of paid leave legislation I’ve worked on for years, and I’m proud say we are doing it with bipartisan and bicameral support,” said Senator Fischer. “For too many families, balancing responsibilities at home and in the workplace is a source of stress. I believe this legislation will positively impact people’s lives and help make paid leave available to more Americans.”
“Updating our country’s family leave policies will not only help strengthen families, but will also strengthen our economy,” said Senator King. “By encouraging family-friendly policies at work, this bipartisan legislation will provide working parents and caregivers in Maine and across the country with more flexibility to take care of their children and aging parents while also pursuing their careers. The Strong Families Act will support this 21st century work environment and make our communities and our economy more resilient.”
“Strong families make strong communities,” said Rep. Kelly. “Strong communities build a stronger country. I’m happy and proud to sponsor the Strong Families Act and incentivize the private sector to enact workplace policies that will make a difference for families.”
“I’m a strong believer that our workforce needs to be family friendly and that our tax policies should incentivize the behavior we want to see,” said Rep. Terri Sewell. “The Strong Families Act builds on these principles by encouraging employers to provide paid leave for parents to care for sick children, for new mothers who need time off, and for children to care for sick parents. Looking out for America’s working families should be a bipartisan priority, and I’m proud to have worked with Members of Congress from both parties to introduce today’s bill. By using the tax code to incentivize the kind of behavior we would like to see from American employers, we can update workforce practices for how families live and work in the 21st century.”
The Strong Families Act would create a five-year, 25 percent tax credit for employers who voluntarily offer up to 12 weeks of paid family leave to employees.
Men and women, salaried and hourly employees, and biological and adoptive parents, could use this leave for family and medical reasons approved under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Eligibility for the tax credit would be limited to employees making $72,000 per year or less, or an amount equal to 60 percent of the current definition of a highly compensated employee. In order to give employers with tight budgets more flexibility to offer paid family leave, the bill would allow businesses to provide less than 100 percent salary replacement, but those employers would receive a less generous tax credit as a result.
Fischer and King introduced versions of this bill the past two Congresses.
**Click here to read the text of the Senate version of the Strong Families Act.**
**Click here to read the text of the House version of the Strong Families Act.**