WASHINGTON, Aug. 2, 2018 — Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) applauds the release of Senator Marco Rubio’s new bill, the Economic Security for New Parents Act, which would give all workers the option to access paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child, without burdening taxpayers.
The bill is modeled after IWF’s January 2018 policy paper proposing modernizing an existing government program that workers already pay into–Social Security–to give them access to benefits they’ve already earned.
“We’re thrilled Senator Rubio stepped up to address the issue of paid leave in a fiscally responsible way,” said Carrie Lukas, president of Independent Women’s Forum. “Unlike the FAMILY Act, the Economic Security for New Parents Act won’t raise taxes, grow government, or hurt workers’ economic opportunities. But it will help workers and taxpayers.”
“We know paid leave is associated with health benefits, family wholeness, and increased labor force attachment, yet many parents in the U.S. cannot access it,” said Lukas. “The Rubio bill is a win-win for everyone: women, families, employers, employees, and the economy. Republicans and Democrats should get behind this important approach to paid leave.”
The Economic Security for New Parents Act is designed to be self-financing, as workers who voluntarily opt-in will receive early Social Security benefits for parental leave in exchange for delaying the collection of retirement benefits by an equal amount of time. Because of this tradeoff, the plan will have little effect on Social Security’s long run finances and will not change anything about retirement benefits for those who do not elect to use this new option. It does not expand the size of government; instead, it injects more flexibility and freedom into a program that already exists.
The Social Security parental leave approach is built on the idea of personal responsibility and fairness. Workers who take this new benefit are trading one benefit for another. A mother or father who takes leave once would delay eligibility for Social Security’s normal retirement benefits by about three months, so they would still be eligible to retire at a young age compared to expected longevity.
This gives them help when they need it most–when facing the considerable costs and need for time away from work when welcoming a new child–but as a tradeoff. This is also fair to workers who don’t want to use this option–and their retirement benefits will not be affected by this proposal.
Importantly, this tradeoff also will encourage businesses to maintain their existing paid leave benefits and continue expanding them, since those benefits will remain attractive to employees.
Competing proposals to expand access to paid leave do not serve American workers well. The FAMILY Act, introduced by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, would raise taxes on all workers, leaving them thousands of dollars poorer when they retire. It would also discourage employers from offering paid leave and other flexible arrangements. Unlike the FAMILY Act, the Economic Security for New Parents Act does not raise taxes and does not create a new entitlement.
To learn more about the Social Security parental leave approach, visit Independent Women’s Forum’s information center.
ABOUT INDEPENDENT WOMEN’S FORUM
Independent Women’s Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. We work every day to engage and inform women and create a community to discuss how policy issues–including paid leave, health care, taxes, energy, minimum wage, and education–impact them and their families.
SOURCE: Independent Women’s Forum