Cassidy mulls over paid family leave as couples continue to struggle

Published: Mar. 29, 2019 at 10:33 AM EDT
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Starting a family can put a serious strain on a bank account, but paid family leave could help relieve that burden. Lawmakers in Washington say they are trying to help. Some families are putting their future on hold while they wait.

“We’re such a family first type of nation that it’s really odd I think that we don’t have policies that support that,” said Rachel Wynn, a Washington, D.C. resident.

Rachel Wynn is self-employed and her husband works for a non-profit. They want to have a kid. but Wynn says they can’t afford to take time off without pay.

“We really would like to wait as long as possible until something got passed for paid family leave,” said Wynn.

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), a medical doctor, says federal family leave policies need revamping. Current federal law does not guarantee paid leave. Cassidy says he has a plan that gets every American the paid time off they need, without losing workplace seniority. One possible way of paying for it, according to Cassidy, is taking money out of social security.

“We’re trying to make it fiscally responsible. Don’t burn the taxpayer,” said Cassidy.

Jessica Mason from the National Partnership for Women and Families says more federal funding is needed, not taking from social security.

“It’s not a piggy bank to use for new programs. It’s a longstanding protection for people who need it,” said Mason.

Mason thinks a better solution would be a combination of federal and employee contributions into a paid leave pot. She wants every worker protected at the federal level, rather than relying on states and private companies to provide for their workers.

“It’s a deep problem that’s really kind of affecting our whole economy, not to mention the everyday lives of families,” said Mason.

Cassidy did not say when he plans to introduce his legislation.

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