While unveiling his $1.8 trillion spending and tax credits plan to shore up the country’s economic recovery, President Biden proposed a monumental social intervention plan that will pave the way for Americans to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave. If implemented, the plan would secure on average $4000 monthly paychecks for Americans during their leave.
The President’s move was inspired by a growing demand for government-run paid leave programs among the public. Around 80% of Americans support some form of national paid leave program. Currently, the United States is one of only a few countries that don’t offer any kind of paid leave program – not even for sick people or pregnant women. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 currently mandates only companies with 50 or more employees to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
Previous administrations as well as current policymakers and business lobbyists have sidestepped the issue, balking at the cost to taxpayers and private businesses.
Ruth Milkman, a sociologist professor at City University of New York, says the reasons why America has failed to institute universal healthcare are the same reasons opposing Biden’s paid leave plan – “opposition by businesses.” “They are allergic to any government intervention in the labor market,” Milkman revealed.
Experts like Rachel Greszler, a research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, believe that government intervention in this area is untenable. “Most (people) would much rather receive flexible and accommodating policies through their employers than to have to deal with government bureaucrats and the constraints of a one-size-fits-all government program,” Greszler said.
However, Biden’s plan seems to consider all these concerns, aiming at a smooth-sailing program that gains firm footing gradually over a decade. According to official estimates, the government would have to spend some $225 billion to run the national paid family and medical leave program over the next decade – nearly a fourth of what the government has spent on national housing projects over the past decade.
President Biden plans to bankroll the leave plan as well as other aspects of the spending and tax credit plan by hiking taxes on the wealthy.
According to a White House report detailing the plan, people could use the paid leave to “bond with a new child, care for a seriously ill loved one, deal with a loved one’s military deployment, find safety from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence, heal from their own serious illness or take time to deal with the death of a loved one.”