« The Weeds

The way forward on family leave

2020-01-17

New America's Vicki Shabo joins Matt to discuss universal paid leave and how to finance it.

Guest:

Vicki Shabo, (@VShabo) Senior Fellow, Paid Leave Policy and Strategy, New America

Host:

Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Senior correspondent, Vox

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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change our environment and working towards a better future. Learn more it INDIGO g com. Recode guess today is Vicky Shop, from the New America Foundation. This is a conversation about family leave policy which has never quite broken through as like a top tier issue in american politics. That I know is really important to me personally and to I think, a lot of people who listen to the show. I learned a lot, and this is an issue that I keep hoping is going to sort of break through into the mainstream, so check it out. Hello. Welcome to another episode of the weeds on the box media podcast network, I'm Mathew Glacius, my guest today, Vicky Shavo, is the senior fellow for family leave policy and strategy at New America. I get that right, senior fellow for leave policy and strategy, a strategy. I practiced it three times. I blew it. Okay, so we're here to talk about paid leave policy, maybe a little strategy, so just start like what
What's the issue here mean Paley with something some of us have as benefits at at work. It was the subject of negotiation. When we formed a union here how to collect bargaining process, we want more paid, leave What is the common I mean due to most, people have leave like what's that, what's the basic situation yeah, no sir, most people in the United States don't have paid family leave to care for new child a seriously a loved one. Most people don't have personal medical leave for a long period of time, so only nineteen percent of workers in the. U S have paid family leave to care for a child or a seriously a loved one. Sometimes parents giving birth might have time through employer short term disability policy, but only forty percent of workers are covered by employers, short term disability, and if you start looking at income disparities their huge, so we ve heard a lot
for the last couple of years about the momentum and how employers are starting to do the right thing in you'll see headlines, but the reality is that access to paid family leave has only grown six percentage points over the last five years from thirteen percent to ninety percent. And if you look at where the income, where different workers sort of shake out, what that the highest wage workers have had a twelve percent increase percentage point increase from twenty two percent to thirty four percent for low workers, the lowest. It's too percentage points four percent to six percent, so we ve seen this grow essentially using as a benefit at the at the higher end of the employment market. People who are already pretty well compensated at a certain margin, and yet lawyers start offering
yeah? And then sometimes you see sneaky headlines like Walmart made a big splash when they adopted. I think it was six weeks of paid paid leave for new parents, but it only applied to full time workers than they gotta check. They get the gold star, but their part time work horses like sixty percent of their workforce, so they are not getting the benefit of that policy where so it's sneaky. It's like there's, overall access numbers, there's a significant aspect,
it is by wage level and by job tape and then, even with in the same employer, you have different tiers of benefits, and so part of the idea of a national public policy is too. I was extended to too many more people and also create some kind of a uniform, exactly state. So the? U S? Is people love to use? This statistic I sometimes have trouble with it just because I'm not sure we can compare ourselves to the rest of the world, morale sorts of reasons, but we're one of two countries that has no guaranteed paved leave whatsoever of any kind. That applies to moms, primarily or people who are giving birth, but we don't think about this as something that provides basic economics. Already or support, and what that means. As you have this patchwork, you have a state patchwork. You ve got a people patchwork, so you know to people in a family. One of them might have paid leave. One of them might not. You ve got folks that are using like fake and sick time and unpaid leave, if you're lucky, to have that through the ninety. Ninety three
and medical leave act, but there is no standard or program that says that you deserve and should have access to paid family and medical no matter where you live, no matter where you work, the job you have or whether you're carrying for any child or dealing with a personal or family members serious. As I mean to be real, it's probably not actually, that in all of these countries they re everyone in practice. Now, why is this a lot of people? You know in India in ensuring the labour markets, but if we compare the United States to you, no similar developed countries right and also. This is why I think it's problematic, so we know from you, Europe and from other countries they might have long maternity leaves, but those of actually created negative employment effects for women. You might have on paper a guarantee, but it's you can't use it without without retribution. So
That's one of the reasons I don't love the international comparisons. I just don't think they're very fair, but what I do think is that the Eu S really has an opportunity to leap Frog, a lot of the rest of the world with respect to creating a national standard around the economic security and the health benefits and sort of all. The reasons why paid leave is good for workers and families and businesses in the economy, and you are involved in helping to put together the family ACT which Center Christan Gillibrand representative was doloro and most congressional Democrats, yeah of course, sponsored yeah, so the family and medical Insurance leave ACT or family act for short that why you know it's a year, sure whatever, but the family act has been introduced every year, since twenty thirteen, I actually think today is the for the sixth anniversary of that bill being introduced December twelfth or whatever. It is today. And dumb yeah, it is
modeled on successful state programs and when it was first introduced, it was more generous than any of the state programs sort of in what it provides, which is now sort of middle of the road account which is really exciting. Sign of progress, and so in a two year, question yeah. The other thing that I think is interesting as a person who did you know, consult on helping to draft the bill, worked to get organisms shins and businesses and others to support it in the first instance and has really
watch that support grow kind of in the world. There are now more than seven hundred organizations nationwide that support the family act, there's close to one hundred businesses that support the family act, but what's really significant is when that bill was first introduced. There were six senators, all Democrats and I think, somewhere between fifty and seventy house members and now we're at thirty five senators and two hundred and two house members, including for the first time a Republican there. You go so progress, okay, so what's in the bill? Basically, this is twelve weeks, I believe, is the that's like the main headline. Yes, so what the family act would do is create a national paid family and medical leave program which is set up as a social insurance fund, and it would guarantee he workers up to twelve weeks of paid leave to care for a new child through birth adoption or foster placement to care for a seriously ill injured or disabled family member to care for their own serious health issue to care for a service member or veteran who was wounded in service.
Or to deal with certain military exigencies around deployment. So it's the same purposes that are covered under the family, a medical Eve ACT than from nineteen. Eighty, three, which itself guarantees unpaid job protected, leave with health benefits, but we know that unpaid leave has never been enough, obviously huge disparities there, and so in this case I mean one way. I think this often gets talked about is that there should be a regulatory mandate on employers that you know went when I get paid leave at vocs media. That means box media keeps paying me, but I go right on leave. There could be a rule, that everybody has to do that? There could be what I like about the social insurance mechanism and I should have said it, guarantees you ocean of your wages? Isn't I'm right now at sixty six percent up to a cap of four thousand dollars a month with some employment protections, but the reason that I Think of a mandate, which is a word I dont use,
often by regulation, that employers just provide that benefit means that there is an incentive for employers to discriminate against women who may be more likely to have children or take leave or to care for sick family members ordered to discriminate against people with disabilities or people who look like they might be less healthy because they need. It is also more difficult for small businesses to deal with paid leave on a one to one basis and much easier for them and their business testimonials all over the place about how it's easier for them to deal with leave if they're paying into a social insurance fund and their workers have access to leave because that freeze them to hire a temporary replacement worker if they need to it? It keeps them from the income shocks of needing to deal with an employee who's out on leave. Because there's sort of a large number thing right? If you have ten thousand employees, then in any in time. Some of them will be on leave. Now that many of them, as other big deal,
but if you only have eleven employees and by Happenstance two of them out and leave at the same time now you suddenly have like a crushing and what we know from state like California, was the first of. What's now, nine states, including the District of Columbia, to have paid family medical leave, programs that have passed that are either implemented or will soon be implemented. We know from California is that businesses do you figure out how the work covered by their hiring replacement are asking their employees to work more or pick up this, the slack themselves, if it's a small business but in a business owners, often say that the idea of having to provide paid, leave or or feeling like theirs, they should pay.
I paid leave when an employee needs it without any warning is really troubling. So, like there's this woman, whom Sarah peeping Burger Piping Burg, knowledge, is to have she's. Listening to this, who owns vinegar shop in Minneapolis, it's called vinegar at and she has testified and she has written about how she had an employee who broke both of her arms and she just felt like as an issue, I think, has a very small business. She might like as an employer. She couldn't not pay this work. Almost. She was on leave until she talks about going to this person's house and giving her paycheck and bringing her groceries route and the employee was so grateful, but it meant that Sarah couldn't payer her retail Morgan. And fell behind on her own rant because she was trying to provide for her employee. She also has looked into perch, seeing short term disability insurance through the private market and has concluded that way too expensive for small businesses to do that. So so the way this works is everybody pays taxes and then, if you go out on we of the government
gives you, which is I sixty six precisely because I have you of your name is or how much, how much higher tax so the family. I contemplates afore tenth of one percent payroll contribution, which is about two bucks a week on each of the employer side in the employee sides four tenths split between employers and employees. So, right now, so this is like such security tax rate now sick, but simply going to any sites when a tenth of settles letter, so we would go in effect, it would go up to six point. Six percent and social security would now rely, would be six point, four percent of any aside wreck and in social security what now provide year. Although the library tax may be sort of a separate line item, it is contemplated that it would run out of the Social Security Administration, but out of a new office that would administer its own trust fund that, when Europe Minister benefit separately, so that it wouldn't touch social security in any way. But it would
kind of build on the infrastructure and the knowledge that social, deserted, the curate had ministries and has to deliver benefits and has no nation wide field office infrastructure and knows how to do this. However, it needs more resources, so we ve always also advocated that essay itself needs more to be able to do this, and the fund would provide for that more row. It would cover the four tenths would cover I contemplated to cover the benefits: the administration, the outreach, the education all of those things right, and so the idea is it's sort of conceptually exactly it's a fund, you pay into it and you are able to use the benefit when you need it, so why two thirds like how does that? It's a great
the question so when the family act was first introduced or whereas, as it was first being drafted, there were two states that had policies in place, California and New Jersey, which were the first to California. Wage replacement rate at that time was fifty five percent and research had begun to show that that was an insufficient level of wage replacement to be able to let especially lower income workers use the benefit road. California has since raise that wage replacement rate. New Jersey at the time had sixty six percent and it was found to be more affordable for lower wage workers. But, interestingly, California's maximum benefit was a thousand dollars a week, and New Jersey was like five or six hundred dollars a week and others. A combination of the higher wage replacement and the higher weekly benefit got folded into the family act, a sort of best practices from the states well fast forward. Six years, as I said, we ve now got nine states, including DC, and each of the last five states that have passed.
Laws which, by the way has happened since the Trump Administration has taken office, basically so progress in this era, it has what's called a progressive wade, replacement feature. Okay, so does that means that means you get. So it's like sixty six percent of your first you now whenever it means as an sixty six percent, none of them are sixty six percent, although they replace wages between eighty and a hundred percent of workers, wages on the first acts dollars of income, usually some percentage or proportion of the state's median wage, and then after that, you
the lower wage replacement re. Basically, what you're doing is making leave much much much more affordable for low income workers who really can't afford it to take prime off even on sixty six percent of their wages, so that that also replicates social security structure, yet which, as I say, these Ben points rights and though the benefit that you get is a function of your sort of taxable incog during your working years. But it's not it's on a linear function of right, right, say and so so paid leave. The newer paid state paid leave laws are structured in that same way, so, as in Congress eventually takes up the family act which, hopefully will be Soon. Some of these tweaks could get folded in to make the policy even more robust, especially the lower wage workers. And so then I assume that what happens because you said already it. The trend is for sort of higher end employers to be offering leave benefits. So then, if you're, I don't know you're like fancy tech company in California, you can offer as a
for your benefit as supplemental absolutely, and so often you know one of the talking points that we always here, though this is going to crowd out private employer benefits, were this is shifting cost from private employers to to workers in the taxpayers But what we ve seen in California is that, of course, these tech companies and other high and employers are topping up. This is how they are competitive to other companies, so the other that the sort of crowd out talking point really makes no sense to me and there's always flexibility for employers to be able to do more. Ok, let's take a break them. I want to ask you big philosophical question:
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Circumstances, but just like a cool model. So this podcast is by better help and listeners at the weeds get ten percent off their first month at better help. Dot com, slash weeds, get started today, better help, dot com, slash weeds visit, better h, e l, p d, as weeds and join the over one million people who have taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced better health professional. So the way this works, I mean there's a lot of details to it, but, broadly speaking, everybody is going to pay and then only some people are going to get benefits are based on. You know like comedy, gives you have or other other medical turbulent donations, but just thinking about the sort of parental leave peace, and so why should there be like a cross subsidy from people who
and having kids to people who are also. I think you can't disentangle the kid piece from the other piece and part of the reason why the family act is designed to be inclusive of all Serious family and medical needs is so that everybody s skin and the game at some point, everyone is virtually. Everyone will need to take time out of work to deal with their own health issue or to care for seriously a family member or to have a child So you know we know from data on the FM relay that actually the most common reason people take a family or medical leave from work is to deal with their own situation. To fifty five percent of Emily uses are personal medical eve. Another fifth are, so our family caregiving and about whatever. The remainder is a little less than twenty five percent or take care for a new child. So the new child piece. It gets a lot of attention, but it's actually not the reason why most people are using a familiar. And won't be the reason why most people are using. Paid family medical. I mean: do you think that would carry
over into into a paid leave context, because it seems it seems a little bit different me waited You have a serious illness such that you like actually can't work, then taking an unpaid leave seems reasonably attractive compared to just getting fired. He drop out yeah I mean we don't see that so in the states where they do have temporary disability insurance, so California, New Jersey, Rhode Island in New York, which were the first four states to add paid family leave benefits. It's no accident that those states also were four of the five where temporary disability insurance has either been provided.
Restate fund funded through peril contributions or a mandate on employers to provide for four decades. So in those states. If you look at overall programme usage of of temporary disability insurance or tv, I M paid family leave for caregiving or parental leave, its overwhelmingly tv. I use their ok, so we know yes in the case where you just absolutely cannot go to work. Of course, like you're, not gonna, go to work when you're in a loose income and you're gonna have all sorts of other challenges financial challenges. But if you can go to work, if you are dealing with a cancer diagnosis or you injury that isn't a workplace related entry where you'd get workers Cobb like you're, probably still gonna dragged yourselves to work as much as you can or you're gonna use whatever few sick days you have, if you have them or you're gonna use your vacation time. If you have it, then again, not everybody has those things and you're gonna try to make do, but that the the premise here is that if you are able to take paid leave to deal with it,
I'm serious health issue, you're gonna be able to recover faster you're gonna be able to get back to work, and the other thing that we know from the state policies is that most workers don't use the full duration that's available to them, so temporary disability insurance in the states that have it is twenty six to fifty two weeks. What we're talking about at the federal level is a twelve weak benefit right, so we ve had some some action the week that we're recording the show, which is that the National Defence ACT, President Tromp wanted to get a space force made Democrats, apparently there, counter ask for this was to create a paid leave programme into the federal government. Do you see someone like that? I mean is that is that progress in a meaningful way, or does it in some ways like did you worried that it undermines the cause at all? I think it's a great question and I don't so in a winning players just to take a step,
so several years ago there was this the beginning front of employers, hand and players that we're starting to provide, Paypal, you ve benefits on their own and there was some consternation in the advocacy community of like this is a good thing, or is this going to undercut that the demand for public policy and I think, in the end, its actually social, the issue for the employer community in a way, that's quite transformative, So I think, similarly, the federal government that the federal government implementing paid leave and it's only for new parents, and that was a concession on a compromise. I think just reinforces the idea that this is something that people should have will be able to do cost benefit. Studies will be able to look at. You know, impacts on retention and things like that But you know, if you think about it as the federal government as an employer needing to be competitive to higher, retain workers who want to have children. I think it's a good thing. Bright com- it's affecting two million people should do we know from from states, should have implemented
You know universally programmes. Are there like, like good good results, that you would point you know like they did the New Jersey and now you know the birds are singing What's the what's, what's the sort of Europe that the hard nosed Kay I mean there are tremendous benefits We ve learned a lot about how programmes can be implemented and how region education can be improved and how policy parameters and to make it even better, but even as it exists now so California has had its programme in place since passed in two thousand to it's been paying benefits since two thousand, for it's been improved multiple times to expand the debt, the family members, for whom one can provide care to increase wage replacement, improved job protection to get rid of a waiting period. Lots of tweaks that have made the programme better. What we ve seen from multiple studies is improved labour force participation, improved earnings for women in particular,
on, whether their caring for a new child or for a seriously or family member. That's been particularly true for women of color and lower wage workers relative to folks, you haven't women. Having taken paid leave, we ve seen men who are taking parental leave, increase from less than fifteen percent. When the programme first went into place to forty percent of baby bonding claims now taken by dads, which is incredible and really foreshadows a cultural change that we need to see in this country. If we care about gender equity, we've seen reduced utilization of nursing homes by eleven percent, which translates into Medicaid savings. We've seen other outcomes for children like reduced head trauma, shaken baby syndrome has gone down and outcomes around ADHD and education haven't
ok, so soon it and that's it using a particularly interesting to me. As you said, you seen, increase labour force participation from women, which is to say people who otherwise would have been taking time out of the workforce, are coming back with a sort of a guaranteed return of their job, whereas in the past it would have dropped out it's more yes, that could be one interpret We don't know what those people would have done. Maybe they would have kept working, maybe like twenty three percent of american women. They would have gone back to work within two weeks of giving birth which isn't good for their babies or for them. So we don't know, but some of them would have left the labor force and there's a new study. That's out that we should talk about because it's causing a lot of buzz right now. That goes against some of the
this by you know it's it saying for letting us in particular letting on low income, women they took a longer leave than they would have taken were, and they had higher earnings ogre after they have been some period of time after they went back. That's consistent with some research out of Rutgers unfairly programmes generally, but there was a nuisance yeah there was sort of us less for yeah. So there's this new study that lag requires the asterisk next Tal of the Good NEWS and I'll tell you what it found, but then I'm can also tell you why we need to take it with the grain of soft myself said this was a study that was done by researchers out of the University of Michigan and what they did was look at the very first cohort of moms in California. So third quarter of two thousand for him and looked at what happened to their earnings in one to five years and in six to ten years, and these are arrested.
To do that, and what they concluded was that women were working less and working fewer hours and as a result, their incomes were substantially lower. So that is counter to much of the literature. That's out there most of the literature. That's out there, certainly about the state programs in the US context, so that caused some concern, and it's been a talking point, especially in conservative media, about why paid leave is bad right, but here's why I think we need to sort of take it with a grain of salt, so one it was the very first cohort, as I said, of California, women who could take leave so the authors hypothesize. Maybe this group of women was special in some way. But also the third quarter of two thousand and four was a really long time ago. So, fifteen years ago, as I said earlier, men were only fifteen percent less than fifteen percent of leave takers. At that time it was pre recession and the study didn't account for self employment income
We really need to take all of this with a grain of salt. Certainly it's worth further investigation looking at other cohorts of leave takers, but yeah I mean, I think it's an interesting finding and to me, if you take the study at face value and if you sort of accept its premises as true to me, what it says is: first of all, women were doing a tremendous amount of investment in their children. Not that has that certainly has value, but in terms of their economic outcomes. First of all, we need to make sure that were designing programmes themselves, the parameters and the outreach, so that men will take leave, because we know from other research that when men take leave, it makes it easier for women to go back to work. There is less gender bias. Outcomes are
better in terms of equity in wages, and all of that too, we really need to be thinking about how people even childcare go together. So if, if one of the reasons that women are choosing to scale back, their work is to provide childcare that may be because there's not quality, affordable, accessible child care of to them and three. We really need to think about how we pay and compensate part time workers right. Well, this also, I mean this speaks to the question of like what are objectives here right. Yes, I mean, I know in some, some european countries have extremely long role, which I know some Americans who I know, look at that and they look on it with a lot of jealousy whereas others, you know nobody would down exactly like free extra benefits?
I mean I definitely no women, especially who you know said that they would feel that is as a burden. You know that they they want to have some time off its valuable its useful, but they would like to ask come back to work at a certain point, whereas something like the german system is really I mean in countries that have higher taxes and provide more public benefits, an alternative to providing toad care for very young children. Is you can provide paid, leave right for their parents to do the job right, dense and that's just like? I did so. It is a question we would live. What's the vision of rioting, so I don't want you want here. I mean here like we value work like all of the rhetoric is about worker in a people who are working and hard working people and being responsible, but we don't do anything and right. That means we could do like how pathetically we could go on any direct sore shore, but if you're thing about the
come and from upward mobility of households in the. U S, context its title, but in the past has been tied to work. Maybe now it's time to being a sea. Oh, but you know it's it's it's tied to work. And the value of work, unlike we out a whole conversation about single moms, who needed to go back to work and were getting kicked off a welfare reign of decades ago. So we value work. The way that paid leave programmes are designed, the way that the family act would be designed or the state programmes are designed is that they are programmes for workers who will continue working rough and yeah. I think we need to ask what we're trying to maximize so in the european countries in a lot of those policies. The long maternity leaves have been in place for more than a hundred years and they were set up as pro as policies they separated out women and men according to gender roles that many people don't want to see. Kind of redefining whore, and they didn't provide leave two men which meant that women were they care
furs and men were the breadwinners were, and that's just not how it works any more r, r wage growth and expenses, and all of those things in a lot of people have written about this. We don't have. He knows how to proceed, would call it like the american wife anymore, who is who is the partner of business like we have all adults, needing to work rights of the vision here, the like your intended social outcome His men and women are taking leave. The leave is adequate, but not super duper long people are going back to work. Something else you do that now another system should be done, his trunk right and so their childcare. You could, but you know you could also make part time work better, whom you can do job sharing with. You could do a lot of things to make work, places more family friendly and make it more possible for parents of any gender to be able to both be with their children more and shore and and have a job that pays them a decent wage that allows them the upward mobility that we all want,
But yet I mean the idea is that you are taking leave for a period of time and agenda equitable way that men and women and people of all genders are like incentivize to take leave and then you come back does it mean? Is either do some Mme it it's it's good to have to have good benefits, but it, but I think it's some members cloudy golden? Looking at some of that the european systems- and you know her conclusion- I was that it wines up leading to even less representation of women in executive ranks than you see in the United States yeah, and so that you know unpack that you unpack that some of the unpacking, but some of it is like lack of paid leave. Another family
only benefit some of it is the bias that's in the workplace and certainly in our in the middle of a now two plus your conversation about harassment. Discrimination like there's a lot that goes into lack of representation of women in high places, but yeah paid leave as a piece of this puzzle. So we ve got a presidential campaign happening now. Do we the proposals from from candidates, they like are their important variations. People should know about. I mean if this has not been like a major subject of iron. We ve got to convey rest rating literally every family in this country. I personally hate healthcare policy. I would know I love it. Sorry, sir, but I would
I would like to talk about something fresh, because you have argued about health care for a long time, but so I have not seen the candidates arguing about it. So I actually done no, what ideas have put on the table or if they differ at yeah, so yes, they are almost all of them at this point have policies which is really exciting and all of them use the family act as their baseline. Ok, some have gone further soak calmly Harris had a six. My a hundred percent pay policy that was bold and visionary research than the rate of any more calm like fire got me. But that was you know. Is that really or not. I don't know to have that as a kind of an aspiration. I thought was really exciting. Pete but Judge has said family act as a baseline, but progressive wage replacement, more
a family definition, more job protection and some really innovative ways of using the healthcare system and the VA to help without reaching education and kind of with take up of the benefit. Castro has said more family members and better for low wage workers. Elizabeth Warren, just embrace, has been a co sponsor of the family act for a long time, but the other day kind of put out a tweet and a paper about how she was picking up Senator Gillibrand mantle. So this is what's really exciting- and this is different than previous campaigns like family act- is a no brainer for folks. The idea of twelve weeks of paid leave and a social insurance in work seems to be a no brainer and then the question is like what else can we do? And I think that's super exciting, very exciting, alright, so, let's take another break and then I want to talk about some of the alternative ideas that are out there. If the last year has taught us anything, it's that we don't know what will happen next, but there's one thing we can all be sure of the only future is one we can all share and leading the charge
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P s, dot org if you're, a gig worker or self employed some Good news about PPP loans. You might want to consider millions of self employed workers may qualify for up to fifty thousand dollars in one hundred percent forgivable alone, You might be one of those millions as the leader ppp loans. Womply can help you find out. They've helped over three hundred thousand small businesses across America get a ppp loan. Funds are limited, so apply now at Womply, dot, com, VOX and see. If you qualify for a ppp loan That's w o m p, L Y dot com, VOX Womply, not a lender terms and programme rules apply. So one thing they could get tricky is adjourned As you know, sometimes people a say like no. I I disagree with that right. I dont think marijuana should be legal or whatever about paid leave
reached a point where everyone is sort of forehead, and yet there doesn't seem to be really agreement on what it is that they are for exactly and I think Marco Rubio and in particular has championed a sort of alternative republican kind of vision for this and and some other ideas that are out there. So maybe you can let us know what what else is happening, yeah so starting about four years ago. So the two thousand and sixteen campaign was the first time that we really saw republican candidates also using the words pay family leave. So at that time I think it was actually two thousand and fifteen Marco Rubio put out a proposal for a tax credit, actually that tax credit got a version of that tax credit got put into the two thousand and seventeen tax bill, and it's about to expire
so that's it. That's hacks, said thirty credit tool, employers who want to offer exactly yes, said up there. It's not had a substantial impact as far as we know, and that was jumpy and by Dub Fischer, in the Senate and as part of the taxable process and Donald Trump during the can, pain. You may remember he said six weeks of maternity leave. He got roundly criticised by both feminists and focus on the right and when he got into office for the last three years has put into his budget a very anemic paid parental leave proposal, that's problematic for all sorts of reasons. So six weeks of paid leave for new parents, it would be run through state unemployment, insurance programmes, but without any resources really to the states to do that and would have low wage replacement rates in the eligibility rules aren't great so then state you, I systems are already kind of tat over burdened
and so those are kind of two proposals that are out there. More recently, we've seen some other ideas, so Marco Rubio, as you mentioned, to sort of move past the tax credit thing along Johnny Ernst and make Lee of Utah Senator Romney, also from Utah. They have proposed- The idea that new parents, again only Parents are excluding seventy five percent of people who use a familiar. New parents would be able to take from their social security from Social Security, receive benefits at the time that they have a new child and in exchange, work into retirement twice as many weeks.
As they used for parental leave right. So this is basically you can like borrow its retirement tyres, and then you pay it back with Indra. Yes- and this assumes that you are able bodied and still able to work out retirement and it doesn't account for the lifetime- benefit cut that researchers from their evidence to to say that you will get if you delete your retirement by even in if you take twelve weeks of leaving, you work another twenty four weeks, you're, getting a three percent benefit cut per child assets. That's one idea that is insufficient and not great, also because the very people who are most reliant on their social security as their main source of income in retirement. The very people who probably dont have paid leave now, but essentially here though I mean the idea, is to say that at least as regards new parents that they agree, that we should do something, but they are trying, but I mean obviously, like Republicans, don't agree with the idea of higher taxes, so they are trying to come up with a.
At various new year, all yeah. I argue with that. The idea that it's physically neutral, like maybe yes, maybe no but sure, will take that reckon so there's another idea. That's come out recently that actually has a democratic republic in each in the Senate and the house again just jump new parents but this is in someone Cinnamon Cassidy in the Senate and Stophonik and are in the house, and this would say that new parents could advance have an interest free loan, basically five thousand dollars on the future value of their child tax credit. So you get five thousand. You claim five thousand dollars when you have a child to be born or adopted, and for the next ten years you get five hundred dollars less in your child tax credit to pay back that loan. Okay, I got problems with that one too
What I really oh, I guess I don't. I don't see that as an adequate solution, but these are obviously what's the problem. Whether I mean well well, I think tat there. It's it's not an adequate solution again. Most of the people who don't have paid leave probably the people who need the full value of their child, a child care and after care in camp and lake. Taking your kid to the doktor and buying close, so no, I like I met up with its yeah, so it's not paid leave it's it's a big baby alone, I was even a baby bonus which other countries do like it's a baby loan like its basic well, maybe but yeah right as you rightly, your future self is making a decision about whether your future self, when your presence as making a decision about whether your future self needs the money more or whether your present criminally squidlike. Whether or not right, I mean, does look when when I asked you about the space force. Work or leave, swap you said you thought that was I mean it's fine
was a good idea. I mean, obviously it doesn't addressed the problem. Why so? I have a fundamental problem. You think you're making me on here. We have a fundamental problem was saying like this is the best we can do so like we are sending to the space. For example, if we are setting up a whole six branch of the Military- and we can't like that, the compromise was for new parents, but not for people who are caring for seriously a loved one. Are, your answer is looking like. We can set up a whole six branch of the military, and we can't let two million federal workers take twelve weeks of paid leave when they need it if they have a serious health issue that meets the criteria like. Why know to find Colin all read sometimes. Well, I mean I don't know where he was on that one, but yeah I'm not CTC like well. He was just at the White House for the White House summit on families to talk about this middle ground solution, and you know I just. I think we lack an understanding of the cost of the status quo here,
and we have started to talk about it. I guess where one of the costs of the centre for american Progress estimates that families on aggregated lose twenty two point: six billion dollars a year because of inadequate or no paid family leave. We have babies that are not getting taken too well
be visits and getting their immunizations. We have twenty three percent of arms that are going back to work within two weeks of giving birth. We have dad's, who are ninety five percent of whom are not even taken two weeks off. We have employers who are able to sort of you note, set the terms and conditions for their lowest wage workers who are vulnerable and dont have any bargaining power we are costing on average. Three hundred thousand dollars and income in retirement savings for older workers from who are leaving work to care for an aging parent. We have higher nursing home expenses. We have businesses that have more turnover and therefore bearing the costs of. Potentially. These are all hidden costs that we're not seeing. We have families who are already economically struggling, who may be have no choice but to taken
paid leave and then are our dipping into savings not paying their bills? Turning in some cases to other public programmes like there are costs all over the place and are being born. There does not being borne by an effective kind of system of how we compensate people when they need to take time out of the workforce to care for themselves are, and we have as people who remember, the people live in stone of soda the show we have people not having as many children as they say they want and when the New York Times did a poll on this and they ask people why it was like four different ways of saying it's too expensive were like four out of the top five issues, not like I have had a total revaluation of values and don't think family is important, because that's fine right, I mean people can decide what they want in life or you could think it's bad to planet. I mean there's a lot of things: people that Great Albert's expecting buildings showing is the able couldn't people felt they couldn't
Wages are they want? Wages are growing, housing prices are going up, we don't have a system of child care and, on top of it you gotta go back to work while you're bleeding it just doesn't, or while your mom is in a hospital dying like it just doesn't work. Man, but on Libya and the baby thing we don't make it easy for people to have babies and in I think there is an EU wide study a couple of years ago that show that forty percent of millennials that they would move to a different country to get paid leave, are we won't? They probably won't. Did the other point about millennials- and this really goes to sort of like the insufficiency of just parental leave, for new parents or to care for a new child? Is among people who are caring for a family must seriously a family member twenty five,
None of those folks are millennials. There was just a great study that came out from national lines for caregiving and carrying a crash innovations that showed that of those people, and eleven million people are caring for both a child and somebody else, twentieth of half of them are millennials and another twenty five percent, or so urgent exercise, or more than that, even maybe some like these are people who are dealing our squeezed and are dealing with care in all ways. So, just before we We recorded this business roundtable came out with a statement of a revised statement of principles that sir, but It was a letter to Congress and to the president that articulated that, for the first time, the business round table which is comprised of the ceos of the largest companies in America. So this letter on behalf of the business roundtable was signed by the and ceo of IBM Jen Remedy, and for the first time the Brt, which you know
traditionally, an opponent of really any right Listen around business and employees said that they were in favour of a comprehensive paid family medical leave programme for the country, so not just new parents, but all familiar purposes. Now this is he. I think this is a significant and this to me as a significant sign of the progress that state advocates have made in passing all sorts of different and more expensive state laws, because this is born of frustration that there are now multiple state laws that multi state businesses need to comply with and a recognition that that stay momentum is going to continue.
What's all this is they are centrally are trying to create a park of federal, yes solution, rather than be complying with fourteen different policies, indifferent Blue stay absolutely and having some kind of bidding war yeah will blame where so the me they ve. No their code word is uniformity lengthened they want preemption. They want preemption, shrugged these state laws and they replace it with a federal standard that wouldn't be as inclusive in terms of who is eligible and who knows what else? So there are definitely problems, but as an opening negotiating position around what a federal policy should look like and pretty happy and that that may some custom consternation for France, but like this The fact that this is an important process, the fact that this major business group felt like they needed to put.
The table. We want comprehensive, we don't just want new parents and we think that there should be a standard and they use language. That implies that there in favour of social insurance, I think that's a big deal puts a business, would probably rather have the social jurors model that than pure regulatory I think that why I think it depends so I think, if you're a large business and you're already providing great benefits, you want to keep doing what you're doing and there's some language. In this letter that says, businesses that meet the minimum standard should have. Flexibility were- and I think that creates some problems around enforcement. And how are you certain that that everybody? in that workplace is getting what they need. And how are you making sure, especially that lower wage workers are getting leave? And how do you not replicate a vastly disparate to your benefit? structure. How do you created a minimum standard that is actually a meaningful, adequate minimum stamina
the problem with these mandates, I saw some people twitter people who were like yeah just make the employers do it and the problem with it in practice. I Congress always ends up exempting small employers from stuff like that for not necessarily bad reasons as we were discussing before but then that really encourages I forgot, whose book this is, but a lot of these like Fisher Workplace while where it can be like ok, like so like everybody here, Let's leave but, like all the same, amateur rays and you know it like half the people who are working here. I don't know what I'm cold work. He hath there at these little sub contracting thing right and that's why you need to nationals. That's why you need a social insurance programme then sets a national standard that employers can do better than, but you you need a floor and
You know where I think I think, there's an interesting opportunity to talk about. Well, if we are going to set our federal standard- and we have state laws that in Oregon, for example, provide a hundred percent wage replacement abroad set of family members with full job protection, can we set a federal standard that says that, because that's a different, a different calculation than a federal standard that is actively taking away those rights and so and what we wouldn't want to do also is replicate the eligibility rules around the family. A medical ACT, because forty percent of the workforce is cut out of the family by virtue of the fact that they work for small employers or haven't, but on the job long enough for a working party or what what are those creatures. So the family medical leave active ninety ninety three, which again provides twelve unpaid weeks of leaving for all of the reasons we talked about: parental leave, family caregiving, personal medical, even military on you have to have be out of work places. It applies to workplaces
have seventy five percent or seventy. Oh, my god. Seventy five workers, no fifty workers within seventy five miles, who have worked for that employer for at least a year and have worked one thousand two hundred and fifty hours. Okay. So each of those three criteria end up cutting out a forty one percent of the workforce, disproportionately lower wage workers on women, yikes and people of color. So we don't want to do that.
And so we need to create a standard that applies to everyone, no matter where you work or what job you have or how big your workplaces and- and you know what I think is really exciting- is that the advocacy work that's happening is including small businesses, armed groups like main street alliance and small business majority, who are working to educate and organise small businesses who are saying this is cost. It would be cost effective and helpful for us to have a standard we ve seen at work and states, and we want that at the national level too. So, just recently, the House oversight and Reform Committee, Carolyn Maloney, chaired her very first committee ever hearing ever on the topic of comprehensive paid family medical Eve and one of the witnesses is owns a cleaning company here in the District of Columbia and in Massachusetts, swear worry as employees.
And he talked about how level as a small business guy who wants to do right by his workers having a national standard would be really really helpful and again, you know I talked about Sarah people forget the beginning, the show same thing so and then their employers in New Jersey, who have just been doing this and have been living with the New Jersey LAW now for a decade, and they see that it has value to them. So we also have to get past this idea that we have to exempt small businesses. Note like we actually need to make this inclusive and, as part of the reason we need a standard is so people can move between employers. The way to seek better opportunities, and so that there is a level playing and who is the overall like what? What which state is like that, the true gold standard hears it The Oregon that you mentioned. The Oregon is the state that past most recently, it was passed earlier this summer. Following on Connecticut, which are also pass this summer and yeah I mean in terms of the wage replacement, both a rate and the maximum benefit in terms of their family definition in terms of the uses for leaves
tool. Assault is included in the Oregon law in terms of the job protection. I think Oregon. Probably the best, and it passes bipartisan support. That's the other thing we haven't talked about, but Oregon Washington and Massachusetts to some extent in New York, I'll passed with bipartisan support. So this idea that Congress has to be stuck in this sort of false sense of defining down. What's bipartisan, I think, is ridiculous. Okay, I'm gonna, ask you a super weak the question, because I'm curious absent in the federal version of that's, why you're essentially piggybacking on the social security ministrations basic, like bureaucratic infrastructure? For you know, I didn't find good people are getting checks to people as states. Obviously can do that because it's a federal agency, I'm so like how does it work mechanically like who? Who does the Oregon leave programme? Is it isn't it did they using the state disability, unemployment insurance. What yeah each each other states use generally the same agency that administers their dissidents,
The unemployment insurance program there's some variation in New York. It's the insurance commission because their program set up a little bit different, but yeah. It's the agency that has access to wage data and earn data our unemployment data and their collecting the revenues from employers, both the employer contribution where it exists and the employer contributions. And then there are determining the eligibility and their bare. You know either cutting a check with airports or they're, giving debit cards or whatever method they're using took, provide pay worth and so right now there are programmes that are functioning enforced states, California, New Jersey, Rhode, Island, New York, starting January. First, Washington state will begin paying benefits in July of next year, DC will begin paying benefits and twenty twenty one Massachusetts will begin paying benefits, and then we ve got Connecticut and Oregon. Why? Why do they have that slow fees will because you ve got to set up the system. You gotta start collecting them. You gotta, do the education to employers, you gotta start collecting, ready,
use. You have to have the of the fund be operational before you can start paying out the benefits. So I'll get, but before I let you go, you know I like to ask what what did I miss here? What what should I have asked you about? What we haven't talked at all that public. And on this I would win tremendously important because eighty percent of workers Lake a family act model for they like the idea of paying into a fund and having access for all the reasons that are covered by the FM relay. They don't like these other proposals. We have talked about so no Jesus hold up, though, if you do, if you do like tough polling, yes tell you that our I'm gonna raise your changes as it has Argos yeah, so there's there's one pull out there that is is would go against that is from the Cato Institute and asked about amounts that are completely unreasonable, so that I
dismissed that, like under the family act, the most that anybody would pay in in a year is like two hundred and fifty dollars and that's the highest wage workers when they pumped it up. You're, going to pay a thousand dollars a year like commerce like nobody wants it. But if you ask workers first of all, if you ask them whether they're lying to pay into a fund at one half of one percent of their of their wages. Have seventy eighty percent say? Yes, if you ask them Are you willing to pay into a fund at? How much are you willing to pay? Seventy to eighty percent say I am most, people are, to pay way more than the split four tenths of one. Alright, there you go so people wanna yeah and letters to small business pulling seven and ten small businesses say that they are in favour of this peril. Tax conch.
Asian model. I wasn't gonna medical if it really is so popular me, hurt you you you here in town, do you talk to people? Why is it that you're talking about thirty seven seven Democrats? Instead of forty seven are or whenever. What's that, so I think until recently it seem like this was far off, and so why they're, putting your name on a bell. If, unless I think there is because I get there, The quest for compromise, where people can always sorted debate like the merits of vibrate, doing something which lies in its I recently the urgency hasn't been there to be honest with you, and I do think that there is this perception that their there. You know that at the end that, like as the debate goes on, as you know
millions of dollars of opposition funding gets thrown in, like perhaps shore something's emails do get tough thinks you're tougher, but, like again, you know. I look at the states that have done this and have done this with by partisan support Massachusetts Bill was signed by republican governor. The Washington state bill was negotiated, equal, they don't cut from publicans and by business groups and consumer groups. We, I think number a Congress has a failure of imagination and- some extent I feel like has blinders on when it comes to what's possible right so like when I've testified, a sort of encourage them not to be held back by their ideas about bipartisanship about what bipartisanship means. Alright, there you go fantastic Thank you so much Vicky about from New America, thanks as always to long I Brodus Engineering, hearing this Texan, beer pit or producer it'll, be back on Tuesday.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-22.