Sen. Kamala Harris is offering up an expansive new paid family leave proposal. Harris had previously co-sponsored the FAMILY Act, which would provide three months of paid family leaveâ€”but now sheâ€™s calling for six months. Harrisâ€™ plan also calls for families with incomes under $75,000 to get full income replacement, with higher earners getting a lower percentage, while the FAMILY Act provides up to 66%.
Harrisâ€™ plan would apply not just to new parents for parental leave, but also to people needing time to care for older children or other family members. Coverage is focusing on Harris not spelling out to the last dollar how the plan would be paid for, but you know what? Itâ€™s not that freaking hard to find ways to raise taxes on wealthy people and corporations, especially after Republicans slashed those taxes. (Vox reports, â€śHarrisâ€™s team says funding would come from raising payroll taxes, corporate taxes, and income taxes on the top 1 percent of income earners.â€ť)
This is the kind of policy that basically every other major industrialized nation has, while U.S. politics is built around the notionâ€”backed up by the mediaâ€”that we canâ€™t afford it. Vast majorities of voters support paid family leave or parental leave orÂ similar policies. So yes, Harris is being bold by the standards of how major politicians and pundits talk, but as a policy, itâ€™s proven worldwideâ€”proven to work for childrenâ€™s health, womenâ€™s ability to stay in the workplace, and gender equality. Getting there will be a fight, particularly as any such plan would have to go through Congress, but good for her for not starting with a compromise plan.
This article was originally published at Daily Kos on October 7, 2019. Reprinted with permission.