July 18, 2014
Legislation was introduced this week that would create a partial tax credit for employers that voluntarily provide a minimum of four weeks of paid parental or medical leave. Specifically, the Strong Families Act (S. 2618), introduced by Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Angus King (I-ME) would create a tax credit for employers who voluntarily offer at least four weeks of paid FMLA leave, capped at $4,000 per year for each qualified employee. Senators Fischer and King emphasize that the legislation includes no new mandates. According to Sen. Fischer, the "bipartisan plan is also a balanced measure that respects employers' costs of doing business" while meeting employee needs and "creates a meaningful incentive structure to encourage employers to provide working families, including hourly workers, the chance to take paid time off." It is unlikely the bill will see any action this year. However, if Republicans control Congress next year, they could embrace it as an alternative to the Healthy Families Act (S. 631), the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (S. 1810), and various other FMLA expansion bills that have been introduced.