Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act Introduced In Senate

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) has introduced federal legislation that would create paid family and medical leave. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act would be funded by employee and employer contributions of 0.2 percent of wages each.

“When a young parent needs time to care for a newborn child—it should never come down to an outdated policy that lets her boss decide how long it will take—and decide the fate of her career and her future along with it,” said Gillibrand. “Choosing between your loved ones and your career and your future is a choice no one should have to make.”

The FAMILY Act would create an independent trust fund within the Social Security Administration to collect fees and provide benefits, creating a self-sufficient program that would not add to the federal budget, according to Gillibrand’s office. Benefit levels, modeled on existing successful state programs in New Jersey and California, would equal 66 percent of an individual’s typical monthly wages up to a capped monthly amount that would be indexed for inflation.

The proposal makes leave available to every individual regardless of the size of their current employer and regardless of whether such individual is currently employed by an employer, self-employed or currently unemployed, as long as the person has sufficient earnings and work history.

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