New Data Shows the Widespread Benefits of including Paid Leave in the Build Back Better Act

A nationwide paid leave policy would provide almost $8,700 extra in benefits to workers who take up to 12 weeks of time off

Today, the National Partnership for Women & Families released a new analysis which finds that the universal, equitable paid family and medical leave policy in the Build Back Better Act would benefit millions of workers, families, businesses, and the entire American economy. A paid family and medical leave policy, similar to the plan authored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (MA-1), would provide $8,700 in benefits from the program, per year, which is equivalent to nearly eight months in rent, more than eleven months of child care payments or almost thirteen months of food.

“At a time when families are forced to choose between caring for a loved one, paying rent, providing child care, or putting food on the table, a national paid leave policy would mean that caregivers — mostly women — won’t have to sacrifice their financial security to provide or receive care,” said Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families. “A paid leave policy like the one in Chairman Neal’s Build Back Better Act provides relief to American workers when they need it the most.”

A paid family and medical leave policy would meet the needs of people from all walks of life - from parents bringing home a newborn, to adults caring for an aging loved one. In the midst of the pandemic, 80 percent of working adults still lack access to paid family and medical leave. The proposal included in the House Ways & Means Committee’s section of the Build Back Better Act would provide working people in the United States with up to 12 weeks of paid leave to address their own serious health condition, to welcome a newborn, adopted or foster child, or to care for a family member, up to 26 weeks of paid leave for military caregiving purposes, and three days for bereavement.

Key findings:

  • Despite current access to paid leave, all workers stand to benefit from a national paid leave program.

    • The median amount of paid sick leave in the United States is just seven days.
    • The median amount of paid vacation is 10 days.
    • The median amount of consolidated PTO is 14 days.
  • A national paid leave program would provide $6,000-8,000 for a typical working parent, based on the average length of leave new parents take.

  • A progressive rate replacement wage means that workers making $15 an hour who take one week of leave from work would see a wage replacement rate of 80%.

    • Those making $30 per hour would see a wage replacement rate of 67%.
    • Those making above $100,000 per year would see a replacement rate of less than 55%.
    • There would be no benefits for those making above $264,000 a year.

By instituting a progressive wage rate, the House Ways and Means Committee’s paid leave proposal addresses institutional equality in the United States by ensuring low income workers, who are least likely to receive paid leave benefits through their employer, are able to enjoy full access to a national paid leave program.

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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