2022 federal budget contains paid family and medical leave
Posted August 13, 2021
On August 9, the Senate Budget Committee Chairman and the Majority Leader introduced the $3.5 trillion in FY2022 budget resolution, which includes federal universal paid family and medical leave. The measure was adopted by the Senate on August 11 by a 59-40 vote.
Few details on the leave provisions are yet available, such as:
- Which employers would be covered,
- What eligibility criteria (if any) employees would need to meet to take the leave,
- The reasons that would qualify for leave, and
- Any job protections involved.
What has been released is that it would allow employees to take leave to bond with a new child, to care for their own serious illness, and to care for a seriously ill loved one; all similar to the current federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
One of the arguments for paid leave is that it has been shown to keep mothers in the workforce, increasing labor force participation and boosting economic growth.
The cost of the measure is said to be fully offset by a combination of new tax revenues, health care savings, and long-term economic growth. The agreement would prohibit new taxes on families making less than $400,000 per year, and on small businesses and family farms.
The resolution is basically a map for committees to follow to come up with details. From there, the final package would go to the full Senate.
The final bill is designed to require only 51 votes in the Senate, rather than the usual 60 votes. The plan asks that committees submit legislation by September 15. The Speaker of the House has indicated that she will not take up the infrastructure or the budget measure unless the Senate passes both.
Whether this budget as currently written will make it across the finish line remains to be seen, given its large price tag, particularly since it’s on the heels of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Stay tuned!
This article was written by Darlene Clabault of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.