FAMILY Act Reintroduced

February 15, 2019

As both parties continue to focus on a federal paid family and medical leave policy, House Democrats are likely to push perennial legislation that would create a federal insurance fund paid for by both employers and employees to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave—without providing relief from the existing maze of state and local paid leave laws.

The new leave program would:

  • Require employees and employers to contribute $0.02 per every $10.00 in wages earned by the employee through a new payroll tax;

  • Provide employees on leave up to 66 percent of their wages, capped at $4,000 a month, for up to 12 weeks;

  • Permit leave to be taken for a serious personal or family health issue, to care for a newborn or newly adopted child, or for circumstances arising from a loved one’s military deployment or serious injury; and

  • Guarantee portable coverage so that workers who have multiple jobs, change jobs, or are self-employed are provided with the same leave benefit as traditional employees.

The legislation would NOT preempt state and local laws, nor provide a safe harbor for similar or more generous employer leave programs.

The GOP is working on alternatives with White House officials.  In the last session of Congress, Sen. Rubio (R-TX) and Rep. Walters (R-CA) introduced two different bills.

Outlook:  There is a good chance the House will pass the legislation, but its fate is less certain in the Senate.  While agreement between the two houses in the current Congress is a long-shot, the prospects of a federal paid leave law continue to grow.