Clinton Plans To Expand Paid Family Leave

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Family Leave

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), who his running for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Tuesday at a forum hosted by the Young Women's Christian Associationin Manchester, N.H., released a plan that aims to combat workplacediscrimination against pregnant women, expand paid family leave fromwork and increase funding for child care services, Reuters reports (Szep, Reuters,10/16). Under Clinton's proposed plan, the federal government wouldprovide $1 billion annually in grants to encourage states to developpaid family leave programs with the goal of having a program in everystate by 2016, the New York Sun reports (Sarlin, New York Sun, 10/17).

The plan also would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act to cover 13 million additional workers and apply it to all companies that employ 25 or more employees, the AP/Boston Globe reports (Ramer, AP/Boston Globe,10/16). The federal law currently requires businesses with 50 or moreemployees to offer women who have worked at the business for one year-- or 1,250 hours -- 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for an infant (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report,8/14). Clinton's proposal would require all workers to be given sevensick days per year that could be used for themselves or to take care oftheir sick children (AP/Boston Globe, 10/16).

Accordingto Clinton, the plan would cost $1.75 billion annually and would befunded by closing a corporate tax protection without increasing thedeficit, The Hillreports. The Clinton campaign said the plan would work "in partnershipwith America's businesses to ensure that pro-family work policies andincreasing workplace flexibility helps improve American competitivenessand economic growth" (The Hill, 10/16).

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Clinton Comments, Reaction

"Too many Americans today feel trapped between being there for theirkids and being there for their employer, and our government policieshave just not kept up with the realities of American life," Clintonsaid (AP/Boston Globe, 10/16). "With sound policies andsensible investments, we can give parents more choices to make thedecisions that are best for them," she said, adding, "We can make lifea little easier for everyone -- for mothers and for fathers -- to dothe most important job there is in any society: raising and nurturingthe next generation" (Clinton release, 10/16).

A spokesperson for Sen. Chris Dodd (Conn.), who also is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that Dodd was the author of the original FMLA and that he sponsored legislation earlier this year that seeks to accomplish much of what Clinton has proposed. Members of the Child Advocacy Task Force for Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, onTuesday wrote in a memo, "As with so many issues facing the countrytoday, promises to help children and families are just that -- promises-- unless we elect a leader who will move past the divisive,special-interest-driven politics that have crippled Washington fordecades" (AP/Boston Globe, 10/16).

Republican National Committeespokesperson Danny Diaz said Clinton's plan for working families "ispretty clear: higher taxes to pay for outrageous spending proposalstotaling more than $750 billion" (New York Sun, 10/17).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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