The future of paid family leave

Pregnancy at work
In this photo illustration, a pregnant woman is seen at the office work station on July 18, 2005 in London, England.
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Connecticut recently joined California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, New York and Washington as the only states to have passed family leave policy. The District of Columbia has such a policy as well.

Since 2017, more than 20 states have proposed legislation to establish paid family leave programs. The United States remains the only industrialized country that doesn't guarantee such leave for working parents.

In a 2016 poll of registered U.S. voters, 74 percent of respondents supported requiring employers to offer paid parental leave for new parents.

Democrats and Republicans agree that there is a need for a federal policy, but there are conflicts on what the policy would look like, and who would pay for it.

Republicans in Congress announced a proposal called the Cradle Act, which would allow workers to use funds from their Social Security retirement income when taking parental leave.

Under this plan, workers would be fully responsible for the cost of taking time off. Once eligible for retirement, however, employees would have to make up double the amount of time that they took off for their parental leave.

In February, Democratic presidential candidate and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand re-introduced the FAMILY Act, which proposed that workers and employers pay a new payroll tax that would cover all types of family and medical leave.

MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with a senior fellow at New America's Better Life Lab, Vicki Shabo, and Harry Holzer, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, about the future of paid leave in the United States.

To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.