November 10, 2017
A paper released by the Bipartisan Policy Institute's Early Childhood Initiative, co-chaired by former Representative George Miller (D-CA) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), includes among its recommendations to "develop and adopt a new, national policy on paid leave." The report declines to offer detail as to what such a policy would entail. With state and local paid leave provisions proliferating—as a stated strategy by advocates to achieve a federal paid leave law—the report argues that support for a federal law is growing. Former Sen. Santorum, a conservative Republican, said, "There is unquestionably universal support for some sort of family and medical leave for our nation’s children and multi-generational families. A majority of employers recognize this and already, without a federal mandate, provide benefits to their employees—some offering it with full or partial salary replacement, others permitting employees to use other accumulated leave benefits or workplace flexibility options requested by and designed to meet the unique needs of the employee." The Association has recommended in its Workplace 2020 report that Congress enact a federal standard that provides a safe harbor for multi-state employers that choose to voluntarily provide paid leave to their employees, regardless of their state of domicile. Consistent with this proposal, the Association is a strong supporter of the Workflex in the 21st Century Act (H.R. 4219), which would create a voluntary, preemptive national framework for employers to provide uniform paid leave benefits and flexible work arrangements to their employees along the lines of our Workplace 2020 proposal.