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Push for paid parental leave takes off

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in Centerpiece,Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

parental leaveDemand for some form of paid family leave—especially for new mothers and fathers—is growing. States and cities are responding with legislative proposals. Not to be outdone, the major presidential candidates have urged their own plans.

Advice: Prepare for the likelihood that soon, you may have to begin providing some form of paid leave in at least some of your locations.

Proposals for paid parental time off center on two funding schemes:

The first is based on paying parents from their state’s unemployment compensation system, with money raised by a payroll tax similar to the one that partly funds regular unemployment comp benefits now.

The second is based on requiring employers to provide and pay for leave just as they are currently required to provide unpaid leave under the FMLA.

Already, several states have established limited benefits. California, New Jersey and Rhode Island provide four to six weeks of leave with partial pay that is employee-funded through a disability insurance program. New York will provide eight weeks of employee-funded time off beginning in 2018.

Several states have extended unpaid leave, essentially expanding FMLA protection to smaller employers that aren’t covered by federal law.

Plus, 13 states are considering legislation that would provide paid leave—Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Oklahoma, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

San Francisco has taken the employer-funded approach, requiring employers to pay employees eligible under California’s unemployment compensation system the difference between that payment and their regular salary. Unemployment comp pays 55%, employers pay 45%.

Where do the candidates stand? Republican nominee Donald Trump has proposed six fully paid weeks of maternity leave, to be funded through the unemployment compensation system.

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton proposes providing 12 weeks of partially paid parental leave through an expansion of the FMLA. Her plan calls for paying for the leave by closing tax loopholes.

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