Biden Administration Proposes a $325 Billion Paid Family Leave Program

The Biden Administration recently proposed a $325 Billion Paid Family Leave Program. Critics say the bill is not likely to pass.

On March 9, President Biden released a $6.8 trillion budget with a provision for paid family and medical leave as well as child and health care benefits.

The third budget of Biden’s presidency contains a $325 billion commitment to a permanent paid family and medical leave program that provides up to 12 weeks of leave and covers workers’ own serious health needs, caring for a loved one’s serious health needs, bonding with a new child, addressing the impact of a loved one’s military deployment, or help for those seeking safety in relation to sexual or domestic violence.

The budget contains $5 trillion in proposed tax increases on some of the highest earners in the country, and for corporations, as well as huge increases in defense spending, a salary increase for federal employees, and support for Ukraine. Unsurprisingly, it faces significant hurdles to pass through the Republican-controlled House.

The Biden Administration recently released a memorandum that calls on heads of Federal agencies to support access to leave without pay for Federal employees, including during their first year of service, to ensure employees are able to bond with a new child, care for a family member with a serious health condition, address their own serious health condition, help manage family affairs when a family member is called to active duty, or grieve after the death of a family member.

Active-duty service members are now eligible for 12 weeks of parental leave following the birth, adoption, or placement of a child for long-term foster care. The expanded leave erases the previous distinction between primary and secondary caregivers, enabling both parents to take time to care for their children while balancing the needs of their unit, and it is in addition to medical convalescent leave, which continues to be available for birth parents recovering from pregnancy. Additionally, service members may request to take the 12 weeks of parental leave in multiple increments of at least one week, which allows for flexibility to meet both family and mission needs.

The Administration is also proposing new tools and resources for employers to help employees with cancer understand their rights under the Family Medical Leave Act.

President Biden recently signed into law the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act as part of the bipartisan end-of-year omnibus law, which will provide basic, long-overdue protections to ensure that millions of pregnant and postpartum workers have the right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace for pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions. Under the new law, employers must make reasonable accommodations for pregnant workers and job applicants, which may include light duty, breaks, or a stool to sit on, without discriminating or retaliating against them.

The President also signed into law the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) for Nursing Mothers Act, which extends break time and private space protections for nursing parents to nearly 9 million workers, including teachers, nurses, and farmworkers. These protections will empower parents to continue expressing milk at work, so they do not have to choose between their job or their infant’s health.