Legislative Updates

Trump Proposes the UI System Funds Paid Family Leave Program in Every State


Emptech's founder, Jeff Aleixo


Jeffrey Aleixo

paid leave

Yesterday, President Donald Trump, through the Office of Management and Budget, released their proposed 2019 budget for the fiscal year 2019 which begins on October 1st.

21% Decrease in DOL Budget

While the Budget proposal does request $9.4 billion for the Department of Labor, it is a 21% decrease of $2.6 million from the 2017 budget-enacted level. Included in the budget proposal is what President Trump had promised as a candidate: a Nationwide Paid Family Leave (PFL) Program.

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Paid Leave Program Proposal

Under the plan, the Paid Leave Program would allow paid family leave to new mothers, fathers, and adoptive parents to take time off from work for the purpose of recovering from childbirth and bond with a new child. The FY2019 Budget Proposal states that the Plan would be supported by the Unemployment Insurance system to allow States to establish paid parental leave programs “that is most appropriate for their workforce and economy”.

As written, the language within the FY2019 Budget Proposal suggests that the program will not be federalized but instead, have funds allocated from the $9.4 billion to each State to establish their own paid parental leave programs.

Currently, only five states have a paid family leave program ranging from 6 weeks to 16 weeks time off California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York (began January 1, 2018), the State of Washington (begins January 1, 2020), and the District of Columbia (begins July 1, 2020).

Another 23 states introduced one or more paid family leave proposals into their State legislative sessions within the past 3 years; all failed to gain enough votes to pass due to concerns over how those individual state programs would be funded.  

However, given inclusion into the FY2019 Federal Budget language that allocates funds to support state Paid Family Leave Programs, it can be expected that more States will offer their own PFL programs within the 2018 legislative sessions.

Leaders express support for some form of a paid family leave program at the federal level

Reintroducing the Family Act would provide Americans up to 12 weeks of paid leave at 66 percent of their monthly wages. The benefits of a paid family leave program would apply to every American who works full-time and potentially even those who are part-time, temporary, or self-employed. Among other things, the Family Act considers family leave to include birth or adoption, and serious health conditions including those affecting a child, parent, spouse, or domestic partner.

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Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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