Would family leave work in the US?

Avatar for Cmmelissa
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-13-2008
Would family leave work in the US?
Mon, 01-07-2013 - 3:37pm

It's hard enough to get a long maternity leave in the US, much less any type of paternity leave.  Do you think moving towards a family leave act would be feasible?  From an article from Huffington Post:

I have a suggestion. Since a primary objection to a national paid leave policy is essentially "why should I support someone else's decision to have a child?" then let's leap-frog past everyone else in the world and stop talking about parental leave completely. What we should be debating, instead, is paid Family Leave.

Because all of us have a family. And odds are that family will need us -- our elderly parent, our ailing sibling, or incapacitated spouse -- at some point in our lives. Adding a period of paid (or partially paid) time to the menu of accepted workplace benefits, eliminates the more picayune squabbles we've been having on the subject.

Read the complete article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/04/paternity-leave-policies-maternity-leave-debates_n_2409974.html?utm_hp_ref=parents&ir=Parents

What do you think?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Thu, 01-17-2013 - 4:27pm

It's all good and well in theory, but the question is not only who is going to pay for it, but how are we going to pay for it?

Most countries with PAID long maternity/paternity/family leave also have much higher taxes than US.  For example, Sweden has a 420-day paternity/maternity leave (with 80% pay), but income tax rate can easily go up to 60%, and there is also a 25% value-added tax for most goods (except food and some services - food is taxed at ONLY about 12%). 

We could take advantage of our low tax rates and individually save up for unpaid family leave (which already exists under Family and Medical Leave Act), or hand a big chunk of money to the government and rely on it to dole it back out when we need the money.  Judging from our government's tract record, I would rather do it myself and than count on the government.

The bottom line is, there is no free lunch!

Avatar for jamblessedthree
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-23-2001
Sun, 01-20-2013 - 2:39pm
I agree this is already in place in the form of FMLA, even if it doesn't kick in until you've exhausted all your pto or/and vacation.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2001
Wed, 02-20-2013 - 10:46pm

Well, except FMLA is leave, not PAID leave.

I live in California.  We have paid leave.  We use disability taxes to fund it.  It was added in 2005 or 2006, I believe.  It works well.

There's no reason it wouldn't work on a national level except for "screw you, I don't want to pay for YOUR kids".

But apparently we like to pay for a lot of wars.  That defense budget...

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-16-2008
Wed, 02-20-2013 - 11:27pm

Last time I checked, the state of California is also on the verge of bankruptcy. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2001
Thu, 02-21-2013 - 9:59pm
Which is has been for awhile, and has very little to do with paid family leave, and MUCH to do with state employee pensions. 100% of your salary after 40 years as a university professor?? My husband's PhD advisor was making $250k. Now he's retired. Making the same, and now working for a private university.
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-29-2002
Sun, 03-03-2013 - 7:46am

demontespan wrote:
<p>  For example, Sweden has a 420-day paternity/maternity leave (with 80% pay), but income tax rate can easily go up to 60%, and there is also a 25% value-added tax for most goods (except food and some services - food is taxed at ONLY about 12%). </p><p></p>

I keep wondering where this 60% income tax rate in Sweden comes from.  About the only thing I can figure out is that people are adding the employer required social fee (basically the overhead cost for each employee, similar to the overhead companies often pay in the U.S. for benefits and such), which is about 32% of the salary, with the individual employee's actual income tax.  In fact, most employees pay maximum between 30-40% in income tax on the quoted and actually reported salary.  Most actually pay around 30% since the threshold for the higher tax rates starts at around $70,000 per year (if I recall correctly). Anyone actually paying 60% on their income is making very serious bucks indeed (and, fwiw, capital gains tax is set to 30% across the board). Since that 30% includes the Swedish equivalent of social security, the health care insurance scheme (which also covers sick leave, parental leave, and leave for care of sick children), it ends up (imo, at least) to be a reasonable bargain.  

Also, fwiw, one doesn't necessarily get 80% of one's income for the parental leave days (there is a maximum payout and some people earn more than the maximum), and that 80% doesn't cover the entire 480 days (it's 240 for each parent).  It covers the first 180 days. After that, one gets a maximum payout of about $25 per day.