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5 Things You Need to Know About the Paid Family Leave Program in Progressive’s $3.5 Trillion Package

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We all want to have the ability to take leave from work when major or even minor life circumstances necessitate it. Having access to paid leave is incredibly important because without a paycheck, many workers cannot afford to take the leave they need.

Fortunately, there’s been a huge upswing in access to employer-provided paid family leave over the past few years—including to low-income workers who are the most likely to lack it. But now, a new federal paid family and medical leave program—part of the massive $3.5 trillion spending bill—threatens to halt that growth, impose rigid federal rules on workers’ existing paid family leave programs, and still leave many Americans without access to paid family and medical leave.

Here are five things you need to know about the proposed federal paid family leave program:

Unlike past proposals that sought to use taxpayer dollars exclusively to provide federal paid family leave benefits, this proposal would use taxpayer dollars to cover the paid family leave benefits that are already being paid for by private employers and 10 states that have their own paid family leave programs.

Under the proposal, employers that already have paid family leave programs can apply for and receive grants covering up to 90% of the costs of leaves their workers take. States can receive grants covering up to 100% of the costs of their state-based paid family leave programs.

Considering that, by my estimates, private employers alone provide upwards of $125 billion worth of paid family and medical leave every year, $225 billion of taxpayer dollars—spread out over 10 years and aiming to cover both existing and not-yet-existent paid family leave benefits—seems like more than a stretch.

It should come as no surprise—considering that the proposed federal paid family and medical leave program will be run through the Social Security Administration—that it creates another unfunded entitlement.

President Joe Biden called for $225 billion to provide a new paid........

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