A new bipartisan bill is getting attention; and it could take the conversation–and possibly action–to a new level.
Much like the weather, everyone is talking about paid family but no one is doing anything about it. That could be changing. This summer, Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Senators Kyrsten Simena (D-AZ) introduced the Cassidy-Sinema plan, designed to help working families by funding paid parental leave or infant care expenses through a child tax credit (CTC). Under this plan, parents would have the option of advancing up to $5,000 from their CTC on the birth or adoption of a child. Future CTCs would be adjusted accordingly.
For low-income families that don’t quality for the full, refundable portion of the CTC and for who $500 annual installments would be burdensome, they can “bring forward their CTC benefit to receive the equivalent of 12 weeks wage replacement.” Then, they would receive their adjusted CTC over the next 15 years.
This benefit would be optional. Parents would be able to decline it and continue receiving their existing CTC if they receive paid leave through their employer or state.
Under the current law, parents can claim an annual CTC of up to $2,000 for each child under age 17. This new option would allow families to change the timing of the CTC for a “financial boost” in the first year.
According to the proposal’s authors, it “would allow families to receive support after the birth or adoption of a new child – to finance time off of work, offset the cost of infant care, or both.” They cite data suggesting that “the average cost for center-based infant care is higher than a year of tuition and fees at a public college in 28 states and the District of Columbia.”
While paid leave has gained support on both sides of the political aisle, no plan has been able to gain traction to date. Who will pay for the proposal has been a main sticking point for many draft solutions. Senators Cassidy and Simena seem to think that their proposal could have legs because it doesn’t take away from Social Security or involve a payroll tax increase. Yet, one concern expressed by some is that this proposal doesn’t seem to provide for protection to workers to retain their jobs after their leave ends.