Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Social Security Cares: A proposal for Paid Family and Medical Leave

SOURCE: AP/Jeff Roberson

The Center for American Progress recently proposed a nationwide paid family and medical leave system. Their proposal would be far more inclusive than the current Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which offers unpaid leave only to workers in businesses with 50+ employees.

The proposal, called Social Security Cares, would establish a national paid family and medical leave system as part of Social Security. Social Security Cares would provide partial wage replacement to millions of Americans taking time away from work to care for new children, tend to their own serious medical condition, or caring for seriously ill family members.

The Center for American Progress explains why this update is important for millions of Americans, and their families:

Two-thirds of families today are led by two income-earners or a single-parent wage-earner, which means no one can easily stay at home in these families—whether to take care of a sick child or elderly parent, to care for a newborn child, or even to take care of themselves in the event of a serious illness.

While the phenomenon of workers combining work with care is not new, one thing is now clear: This trend is not going to be reversed but rather will continue to accelerate. In fact, in 2010 half of all births to women under age 30 were to single mothers. If a single mom or one of the breadwinners in a two-earner family must stay at home to care for an ill child, then they may face loss of pay, loss of opportunity to advance in the workplace, or, in the worst cases, loss of a job.

Read more about Social Security Cares

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