WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has released a new tax reform plan, which includes U.S. Senator Deb Fischer’s (R-Neb.) paid leave proposal, the Strong Families Act.
“I am thrilled Chairman Hatch adopted my paid family leave proposal in his tax reform markup. This is a big step toward enacting the first nationwide paid leave policy in U.S. history.
“For the four years I’ve been working on this plan, my goal has always been to balance the workplace challenges of employers with the needs of 21st-century working men and women. By encouraging flexible work arrangements, this proposal would allow workers to take leave on an hourly basis so they could care for a sick child or take an elderly parent to a doctor’s appointment. It also would cover maternity and paternity leave for biological and adoptive parents.
“Importantly, the measure is also targeted to those who need it most: lower-to-middle income and hourly workers. The plan sets a limit on the salary-level eligible for the credit, which would expand access to paid family leave for workers who currently don’t have it.
“I thank Chairman Hatch for his support, and I look forward to continuing these efforts to make a positive difference in the lives of working families across this nation,” said Senator Fischer.
In March, a Pew Research report found that 87% of Americans favor Senator Fischer’s solution for paid leave. The American Action Forum’s analysis of the study noted that Americans are “extremely supportive” of her approach.
Statements of support for Senator Fischer’s paid family leave plan:
“This concept would change the game for many newborn babies and their parents, allowing them the time they need to bond and establish a nursing routine without as much of the stress and guilt they face today. It would provide families with the financial support they need in order to do what's best for their family, but also help businesses that struggle with putting a plan in place due to the financial burden extended absences create. Failures in the family unit are the root of many of our problems in this country, and I believe anything we can do to help families get off on the right footing will manifest in long-term benefits. In this case, the employee gets the time they need and the employer bears less burden. Our country wins when we focus on and invest in healthier families,” said Alison Ritter, an employee at Applied Systems, Inc. in Lincoln, Nebraska. Alison is helping her company’s leadership develop a paid leave policy.
"I want to offer my employees paid leave, but a mandate forcing me to do so would be hard. I have to make payroll. Senator Fischer’s approach is much more workable and wouldn't provide a disincentive to hire anyone," said Eric Dinger, the CEO of Powderhook in Lincoln, Nebraska.
"Balancing work and family responsibilities can be a big struggle for workers, particularly for women. Most companies want to help workers and provide support, and the Strong Families Act will make it easier for them to do so. By creating a 25 percent tax credit for the costs of providing paid leave benefits, this bill will encourage more companies to give workers paid time off, which will make it easier for parents to take care of sick children, and workers to assist with aging parents as well as attend to their own health issues. We applaud Senator Fischer for taking this approach, which focuses on encouraging private action, rather than creating a one-size-fits-all government solution or mandate that often backfires on the people we most want to help," said Carrie Lukas, Vice President, Independent Women's Voice.
Click here to read the paid family leave language in the Chairman’s mark.
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