FMLA Turns 25, It’s Time For a National Paid Leave Law

I feel like I talk about paid leave so much, but it is a very important topic! If you watched the State of the Union address, you probably heard Trump say “And let us support working families by supporting paid family leave.” Now, I was tweeting up a storm — mostly calling 45 out on the things he was saying that were. just. not. true.– but when he said that, I had to say “WOW Did he just endorse paid leave?” Is a national paid leave law going to become a reality in Trump’s presidency?

Now that the dust has settled over that SOTU, I wanted to know more on what kind of plan 45 would support. See, there is already a plan introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the FAMILY Act, which has been endorsed by a number of Democrats (27 to be exact), 2 Independents and NO Republicans.

The FAMILY Act would:

  • Provide workers with up to 12 weeks of partial income when they take time for their own serious health conditions,
  • Allows workers to earn 66 percent of their monthly wages, up to a capped amount– ensuring that low- and middle -wage workers have a higher share of their wages replaced
  • Covers workers in all companies, no matter size of company
  • funded by  by a minimal contribution of employees and employers- two tenths of 1 percent each (two cents for every $10 in wages!)
 The FAMILY Act seems great to me, so I want to know, why aren’t Republicans on board? What does Trump think about it? Furthermore, what kind of leave does he envision?
Would Trump’s plan cover fathers? How long would it be? What percentage of pay would employees get? Would it cover part time employees?
Politifact reported in Dec 2017 that Trump said in a campaign rally that he would “provide six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit.” So, it sounds like fathers wouldn’t be eligible. What about same sex couples? We simply don’t know.
If six weeks is what the Trump administration is advocating for, I say it falls short of what parents need. Mothers at six weeks are just barely recovering (not even fully recovered if they had a c-section). If FMLA (which turns 25 years old tomorrow!) is 12 weeks, why would or why should we go backwards? Six weeks is simply not enough. Babies at six weeks are too young to be left in a daycare.
FYI, Many states have law requiring puppies not to be separated from their mamas until at least eight weeks after birth– some states making it illegal to do so before eight weeks. Nevada is one of those states, the law says: “A retailer, dealer or operator shall not separate a dog or cat from its mother until it is 8 weeks of age or accustomed to taking food or nourishment other than by nursing, whichever is later.
Kansas law states the puppy must at least eight weeks old AND weaned. “Weaned” means that an animal has become accustomed to taking solid food and has done so, without nursing.


25 states have rules re. the separation (sale) of puppies from their mothers. And yet, only 4 states have a paid leave law that would allow them to spend time with their babies without worrying about a lost paycheck.


Today, Politico has reported that Marco Rubio wants to lead the paid leave fight with Ivanka, an early proponent of paid leave in the Trump administration.

According to Politico, Rubio’s plan would allow “people to draw Social Security benefits when they want to take time off for a new baby or other family-related matters, and then delay their checks when they hit retirement age.”


This year FMLA turns 25 years old. (Tomorrow!) Surely, it’s time for an update, since FMLA only provides SOME employees with 12 weeks of UNpaid time off.
I support the FAMILY ACT! So many parents struggle with the financial insecurity that comes with unpaid leave –Speaking from personal experience, when our daughter was born, we dipped into savings, retirement funds and put expenses on our credit cards to make ends’ meet).
Graphic credit:
Make sure to join the Digital Day of Action TODAY on Twitter!  Show your support all day, and especially between  1-2 pm ET during the Twitter storm in support of #PaidLeave!
Here are some tweets you can use to show your support:
  • A strong #paidleave policy goes beyond #FMLA and it must:
    –>Be Accessible
    –>Be Inclusive of All Family Structures
    –>Have Job Protection
    –>Be Affordable
    –>Have A Meaningful Length – at least 12 weeks
    –>Be Funded
    #FMLA25 #PaidLeaveMeans
  • Lawmakers should pass a strong #paidleave program that’s not just #maternityleave. Maternity-only leave creates discrimination against mothers, prompting some employers to not hire them. #FMLA25
  • We all want to be there for loved ones when they get sick with a major illness like cancer. Having #PaidLeaveMeans you can care for the people who need you most without risking your financial security. Find out how: #FMLA25 #paidleave
  • FACT: Nearly 1/2 of covered employees who need #FMLA don’t take it because they can’t afford to.  #FAMILYAct would help more people get covered because it’s #paidleave! #FMLA25
  • Nobody should have to choose between caring for their family & keeping their job. We need the #FAMILYAct. #FMLA25
  • #Paidleave access shouldn’t depend on where you live or work. We need a national standard. This #FMLA25, the #FAMILYAct is a key next step.




Diana Limongi
Diana a mom, activist, nonprofit professional, podcaster and writer from Queens, NY. She writes about motherhood, activism, raising my multilingual kids, culture and travel. She and her multicultural family live in Queens, NY.

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