U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., has introduced a bill that would allow families to take leave from their jobs when they have new children with funds coming from their future Social Security earnings. The “New Parents Act” would allow a new parent to take as much as three months leave from their job.
Rubio weighed in on the new bill this week.
“In the 21st century, we should recognize that have new sources of insecurity and an even more fundamental risk, which is financial insecurity when you start a family,” Rubio said when he brought the bill out on Wednesday. “Working parents today are often trapped in a series of no-win situations. You choose to have one parent stay at home and you can’t afford the one house close to your place of work or possibly can’t afford to buy a home for your family at all. Have both parents work and watch child care costs cancel out most of at least one of your two incomes. Take time off from work right after having a new child, only to spend less time with them for the rest of their childhood because you need a second job to pay off the debt from your unpaid parental leave. So today we are proposing a change to Social Security to apply it to the challenges of our time.”
Under the proposal, parents could get between 66 percent and 120 percent of their weekly pay depending on their income and the length of time they wanted to take off to be with their newborn child. Rubio said the bill would force the parent to eventually pay the money back to Social Security by either delaying accepting Social Security at retirement age for either three or six months or by taking a reduced amount over the first five years of receiving the benefit.
“Consider the example of two parents, one an electrician and the other a teacher, they both earn the national median income for their jobs, about $40,000 per year. Under the plan we are proposing today, if one parent took two weeks off from work at 100 percent of his or her income, then the other parent could afford to take two months off at 120 percent of their income, or three months off at 80 percent of their income,” Rubio noted, insisting the bill does not burden future taxpayers.
“Importantly, our proposal offers maximum flexibility so that families can determine what type of leave works best for them. Under our proposal, the benefit would be transferable between the parents in the household and available to working and stay-at-home moms and dads alike. Our proposal would enact paid family leave in America without increasing taxes, without placing new mandates on small businesses which would harm young, working parents we aim to help,” Rubio added.
In the Senate, the New Parents Act is cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah. On the U.S. House side, the bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Mo.
No Democrats have stepped forward to add their names to the legislation so it could be tough for the bill to move through the House.
Florida Daily reached out to U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., who offered her take on Rubio’s proposal.
“Yet more evidence that the GOP sees Social Security as expendable,” Demings told Florida Daily. “It’s not. It’s an insurance policy that we pay into to keep seniors out of poverty. It’s not paid family leave if you have to raid your future income to pay for it. Every other developed country in the world has paid family leave. Americans should have that same guaranteed benefit for the world’s greatest workforce.”
Reach Mike Synan at Mike.Synan@floridadaily.com.