If You Are a Fan of Paid Leave, This Is the Year for You

In his recent address to Congress, President Biden touted two plans that would require employers to provide employees with paid leave.  Here are the highlights:

American Families Plan

You can read the entire Plan summary here. https://www.constangy.com/assets/htmldocuments/American%20Families%20Plan.pdf The section addressing the paid leave provisions can be found on pages 8 and 9.

If the plan passes, when it is fully phased in employees would be entitled to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave per year for several reasons:

  • The employee’s own illness
  • The illness of a family member
  • A new child
  • Military deployment of a family member
  • Treatment for or recovery from sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence
  • Bereavement

Sounds a lot like paid FMLA leave to me.  We do not yet know how the AFP will impact the FMLA. 

The Plan is not clear about how much an employee would be paid. Right now, it appears as if employees would receive between 66% and 80% of their average weekly wages, with a maximum of $4,000 per month.

This Plan is likely to cost in excess of $500 Billion over 10 years.

This Plan will almost certainly pass if the Democrats are able to introduce it using the budget reconciliation process, which only requires a simple majority to pass the Senate. If they cannot use the budget reconciliation process, it is not as likely to pass in its current form.

Healthy Families Act

The HFA would require employers with 15 or more employees to provide employees with seven days of paid sick leave per year for specific reasons:

  • Physical or mental illness, injury, or medical condition
  • Obtaining a diagnosis, care, or preventive care
  • Attendance at required meetings at a school which the employee’s child is attending because of a medical condition or disability
  • Obtaining various types of assistance related to sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence

You can read the entire 48 page Bill here: https://delauro.house.gov/sites/delauro.house.gov/files/documents/HFA%20117.pdf

Employer take away: Neither the American Families Plan nor the Healthy Families Act are yet law, so you do not have to take any immediate action. But, keep an eye out for further updates as they each make their way through the legislative process.  If either of them pass in any form, it will require us to quickly revise our forms and practices.

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