Rep. Breen Authors Resolution Urging Congress to Implement No-Cost Paid Parental Leave Program

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) is urging Congress to take swift action to establish a no-cost federal paid parental leave benefit, to ensure new moms and dads the opportunity to bond with their new babies for the first few months after birth. Breen’s HR 798 would adopt a model recently proposed by the Independent Women’s Forum to provide for parental leave at no cost to employers or to the federal government. The proposal would allow new parents a completely voluntary option to collect Social Security benefits early, for twelve weeks, in exchange for delaying the collection of those Social Security benefits by a much smaller period, approximately six weeks, at retirement age. It is envisioned that the new benefits would be offered in addition to any existing employer-paid parental leave policies.

“Parents need time with their new babies, and we can make that possible for every mom and dad in the country with this no-cost social security proposal,” said Breen. “Today, approximately 60% of new parents in the United Sates lack access to paid parental leave. The main impediment to the implementation of a federal paid parental leave policy has been cost, and this proposal would have a zero net cost associated with it. The length of the deferment of Social Security benefits would be calculated to offset the cost of providing the parental benefit. Preliminary estimates suggest that in order to provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave, new parents would only need to defer their benefits upon retirement by six weeks.”

According to Breen, the United States is the only industrialized nation in the world that does not mandate or subsidize some form of paid parental leave. “Studies from McGill University and the University of California in Los Angeles show that paid parental leave is associated with lower infant mortality rates, increased childhood vaccination rates, high school graduation rates, and higher average lifetime earnings for the child,” Breen added. “The Social Security Administration already administers programs under which workers may choose to defer their benefits, so this program could be readily administrated by existing infrastructure. This is a no-cost solution that would provide priceless time between baby and parents during those important first months after birth.”

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