Dec 15 2017

WASHINGTON POST: The Senate tax bill should give families the paid leave they deserve

Deb Fischer, a Republican, represents Nebraska in the U.S. Senate.

Congress has a chance to make history by enacting the first nationwide paid family leave policy as part of the Senate tax reform bill.

While many working adults have been busy raising children, our nation’s aging population has created a dual strain as those adults’ caregiving duties have expanded to looking after elderly relatives. Life is stressful for families trying to make it all work. It can feel like there simply aren’t enough hours in a day.

For four years in the Senate, I’ve been working on the plan to address this challenge that was included in our tax bill. My proposal aims to increase Americans’ access to paid family leave while remaining cognizant of the realities of running a business — especially a small one.

This plan uses a tax credit to encourage employers to offer workers up to 12 weeks of paid family leave. Using what I call the “carrot approach,” the policy gives businesses an incentive to give employees more flexibility when they face family worries.

This is the kind of paid-leave program the American people support. A Pew Research Center study released in March looked at people who have taken, or wanted to take, leave in the past two years. Participants said that having paid leave for family or medical reasons was more helpful than any other benefit or work arrangement. The findings showed that 87 percent of participants somewhat or strongly favor a tax break for employers who provide paid family leave. That’s exactly what my measure does.

Click here to read the entire op-ed.