Budget proposal includes paid family leave for mothers, fathers

Q&A with Nathan Whatley

published in The Oklahoman | June 13, 2017

Following through on a promise made early in his campaign, President Trump included a plan in his first budget proposal that would create and fund a program to provide both mothers and fathers with six weeks of paid time off after the birth or adoption of a child. In a Q&A with The Oklahoman, McAfee & Taft labor and employment attorney Nathan Whatley explained how this proposed benefit differs from the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), how the program would be funded, and how much the program is expected to cost.

“Currently, under the FMLA, employees who have worked for at least 12 months for an employer with 50 or more employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of leave for the birth or adoption of a child,” said Whatley. “However, leave under the FMLA is unpaid. In contrast, the President’s new proposal would provide six weeks of paid employment leave to mothers or fathers in connection with the birth or placement for adoption of a child. The President’s proposed would not be limited to employees who work for employers of a certain size.”

According to the White House, the proposed new plan would be paid through the nation’s unemployment insurance system and is estimated to cost approximately $25 billion over 10 years, he said.