May 19, 2017
President Trump's 2018 budget, which will be rolled out May 23, will seek $25 billion for states to create paid family leave programs through their unemployment insurance programs, potentially providing up to six weeks of paid leave for mothers and fathers after the birth or adoption of a child. While the details of the program still have to be worked out with Congress, the proposal may be one of the few additional funding requests in a budget that is otherwise expected to include significant reductions in nondefense spending. It is not clear at this point how the program would be paid for, or if employer-paid payroll taxes would have to increase to cover the costs. Under the proposal, states would be required to run their own programs, unless they already have one in place. So far, only California, Rhode Island and New Jersey offer new parents the benefit, which is financed through temporary disability insurance programs. New York and Washington, D.C. have approved measures that start taking effect next year, which are paid for by employees (NY) and employers (DC). According to Jeffrey Hayes, a program director at the Institute for Women's Policy Research: "It's a major step forward, and it’s better than zero, which is what parents are guaranteed now. Trump is the first Republican in the White House to talk about this, so he could get some bipartisan support." However, the proposal could meet with some resistance in Congress over the strain it could place on the nation's unemployment insurance system which, has not yet recovered from the last recession.