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IWN Staff
June 1, 2023 - 2 minutes
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In 60 Seconds: The Paid Leave Debate

*PDF Download: In 60 Seconds – The Paid Leave Debate

We all want American families to have the time and resources they need to welcome a new child.

In reality most full-time employees have some paid time off. But this doesn’t mean all families have the time and resources they need when welcoming a child. Those who lack paid leave often end up leaving their jobs and using public assistance.

Here’s the issue of paid leave in 60 seconds:

What’s at Stake

We all want American families to have the time and resources they need to welcome a
new child.

Bad Solution:

A new federal entitlement program would:

  • Require a new payroll tax,
  • Disrupt existing paid leave arrangements,
  • Leave all workers with less money in their paychecks,
  • Result in fewer job opportunities, particularly for women.

In reality most full-time employees have some paid time off. But this doesn’t mean all
families have the time and resources they need when welcoming a child. Those who
lack paid leave often end up leaving their jobs and using public assistance.

A Better Path Forward: Earned Leave

  • Budget neutral and gender neutral
  • Does not raise taxes or expand government
  • Completely voluntary, doesn’t affect others

Qualifying workers can opt to receive benefit payments following the birth or adoption
of a child. Workers’ retirement benefits would then be delayed or they could pay
additional taxes to offset the earned leave benefits’ costs.

How This Helps:
All workers decide for themselves when they need benefits most, benefits they’ve earned.

Expands access to leave for those who are most vulnerable today (low-skill, low-wage
workers). Family leave is critical because it:

  • Is associated with better health for mothers and babies.
  • Encourages greater involvement of fathers.
  • Encourages workers to return to work rather than leaving work force for government aid.

This is fair to workers who do not want and will not use earned leave benefits. They will
not have to pay for someone else’s benefits. Employers would still have an incentive to
offer employees paid leave benefits. Instead of making government bigger, this makes
it work better.

Addressing Misperceptions: 

IWN Staff
Back to Resource Center

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