In his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, President Donald Trump allocated $20 billion to establish a “Federal-state paid parental leave program” within the unemployment insurance program. The paid family leave program would provide six weeks of paid leave benefits for mothers, fathers and adoptive parents. The program would begin in 2020.
Exact details on how this program would be run, however, were not provided in the proposed budget. However, the budget plan explained that states would have “broad latitude” in designing and financing this paid leave program.
While this proposed program could garner bipartisan support, it also could create additional taxes on employers. The federal government would set minimum levels for states to maintain in their unemployment trust funds. For those below the minimum levels, the states will have to increase their unemployment insurance taxes, which in turn, will impact employers.
Several states and cities already have paid family leave programs. For example, since 2002, California has had a paid family leave program which provides for six weeks of family care and the eligible employee has earned $300 in wages during the base period. Last year, New York passed a paid family leave program that will go into effect in 2018. Under New York’s statute, the amount of paid leave will gradually increase from eight weeks to 12 weeks by 2021. Other states with paid family leave programs include New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington. The District of Columbia also has a paid family leave program.