Angie Craig again joins her left-wing Democrat colleagues on employee paid leave
Angie Craig again joins her left-wing Democrat colleagues despite posing as a “moderate” by co-sponsoring The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act and the FAMILY Act.
Perceived problem: Families have babies, employees get sick and need to stay home to recover, employees’ family members get sick and need assistance from the employees. Some employees use paid vacation time or sick leave for at least part of their time off. Others, including those hired relatively recently, may not have much paid leave available to use. Without sufficient paid time off, “emergency funds” set aside for such events, or a spouse or significant other who continues to work to support the family get in a financial bind, and often try to return to work earlier than they would like. Research shows that the country’s lack of family-friendly policies is a factor in women’s stalled advancement in the workforce and the country’s declining fertility rate.
As a partial solution, the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to 12 workweeks of unpaid leave per year to:
· Give birth to and take care of new baby, or care for a newly adopted child;
· Take care of a sick spouse, child, or parent;
· Recover from a debilitating illness;
· Tend to urgent circumstances involving a spouse, son, daughter or parent in the military.
Employees can also take up to 26 workweeks of leave in a year to care for a close family member who is an ill or injured service member. Although this does not solve the financial problem, it does guarantee the employee’s position to return to after the leave is taken.
The FMLA covers both public- and private-sector employees, but certain categories of employees, including elected officials and highly compensated employees, are excluded from the law or face certain limitations. In order to be eligible for FMLA leave, an employee must have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, have worked at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months, and work for an employer with at least fifty employees.
The Minnesota Pregnancy and Parenting Leave Act supplements that and applies to employers with 21 or more employees. That law allows parents up to 16 hours per year of unpaid time off from work to participate in their children’s school activities, and it also contains a provision allowing up to six weeks of unpaid absence for maternity or paternity leave.
Neither the federal FMLA or the Minnesota Pregnancy and Parenting Leave Act increases government spending, but places additional burdens on employers.
Some lawmakers wish to take this further at the national level.
H.R. 1534, The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) would guarantee paid leave 12 weeks of paid leave for federal employees for all instances covered by the FMLA, which currently only guarantees unpaid leave:
- Because of the birth of a son or daughter of the employee and in order to care for such son or daughter.
- Because of the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care.
- In order to care for the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent, of the employee, if such spouse, son, daughter, or parent has a serious health condition.
- Because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s position.
- Because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on covered active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty) in the Armed Forces.
The cost of this paid leave would be paid by the federal government, would be a new federal program, and would either need to be paid for by higher taxes or greater federal budget deficits.
The bill was rolled into and passed the House of Representatives as Sec. 1122 of H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, on 7/12/2019. Roll call vote 473, 220 Democrats voted yes, 8 voted no, 188 republicans voted no. Angie Craig co-sponsored H.R. 1534 and voted yes on H.R 2500. So much for bi-partisanship.
H.R. 1185, The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, known as the FAMILY Act, would go further, establishing a national family and medical leave insurance program. It would ensure that every American worker can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave for a pregnancy or the birth or adoption of a child, to recover from a serious illness, or to care for a seriously ill family member.
The FAMILY Act, would provide eligible employees up to 12 weeks of partial income to address:
- A serious personal health condition, including pregnancy or childbirth,
- A family member with a serious health condition,
- A newborn, newly-adopted child, or a newly-placed foster child, or
- A service member injured due to deployment.
The FAMILY Act would be paid for by an increase by a 0.2% increase in payroll taxes for both employers and employees.
Angie Craig co-sponsored H.R. 1185, one of 198 Democrats and one Republican.
“Republican plans, and one bipartisan idea, focus more narrowly on new parents, with a different way to pay for it: People could dip into their own future federal benefits, and receive smaller benefits later.
Several Republican proposals would allow new parents to collect Social Security early and receive less when they retire — treating it more like an individual account than a social insurance fund.
Some Republicans have also proposed letting people use pretax savings accounts to save for leave, and the 2017 tax overhaul included a credit for companies that voluntarily provide it.” Both parties support paid leave. So what's the holdup?
Differences between approaches:
The differences between the bills then are who are covered (only federal employees, all workers, or just new parents), what is covered (all medical leaves or simply new children born), and how paid (federal budget, increased payroll taxes or advances on future federal benefits).
Bottom line: Angie Craig supports both adding to federal spending with the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act and increased federal taxes and spending under the FAMILY Act.
Despite her posturing as a moderate, yet again she joins her left-wing Democrat colleagues.
Paid for by (even if free) Rick Olson for Congress Committee, P.O. Box 1079, Prior Lake, MN 55372