Nebraska senator hopes new law will encourage employers to offer paid family leave

Published: Feb. 4, 2018 at 3:42 PM EST
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During his State of the Union address, President Donald Trump called for Congress to support paid family leave.

Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) says she’s happy the president is focusing on the issue, and says a law she wrote is going will help make progress.

Fischer said, “I was very pleased to be able to get passed the nation’s first paid family leave proposal.”

It’s part of the new tax law.

Fischer says law she authored will give businesses a tax write-off if they pay employees who need extended time away from work.

She says she wants to help hourly employees, making $72,000 or less.

However, those specifics aren’t written in the law, so she says she’s working with the Department of Treasury to make sure the law is implemented the way she intends.

Fischer said, “Those hourly workers can take off an hour or two to be able to take their child to the doctor or be able to check a parent, an aging parent.”

Shilpa Phadke, from the liberal Center for American Progress said, “This isn't paid family leave.”

Phadke said that’s because the law does not make it mandatory for employers to provide paid family leave.

She said of Fischer’s bill, "It's just an incentive to businesses to be able to get a tax credit for providing family medical leave but it doesn't do anything to ensure that they do that"

Phadke prefers a bill from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), which promises up to 12 weeks of paid family leave for women and men who have a newborn, or adopt a child, as well as people who are seriously sick, or have a family member who is.

However, Gillibrand’s bill has no republican cosponsors.

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