The United States is among three nations on the planet that do not guarantee paid parental leave as a right. It’s time we change that. Many western nations are leading the way in providing paid parental leave. Denmark offers parental leave starting 4 weeks before a baby is due and offers 18 weeks of paid maternity leave and 14 weeks of paid paternity leave. In Iceland new moms are guaranteed 3 months paid maternity leave, new dads are also given 3 months and an additional 3 months are given that parents can use how they deem appropriate. Parents in the United States deserve paid parental leave to care for and bond with their children.
I propose a paid parental leave program in which each new parent will be guaranteed 3 months of paid time off at 80% of their income after having a child and an additional 90 days of paid parental leave for parents to use when they need it from when a child is 3 years old until they begin grade school.
Psychological research shows that the most important years of development are between ages 0-3. Sadly, many of our most vulnerable citizens are not given adequate care. Adequate child care is a luxury that is out of reach for many parents who are trying to earn a living. The average annual cost of child care for Utah families is $9,183, which is 11% of a married family’s annual income. This leaves too many without proper supervision for their children and puts a financial strain on most working families.
We need a publicly funded universal child care system, utilizing the latest research in child psychology to ensure that the youngest and most vulnerable people in our society are given an enriching and safe environment in which to develop. This system will be funded by directly moving funds from the NSA, CIA, DEA, and DHS into public childcare.
In the United States, if you get ill or injured not only do you have to worry about financial ruin because of monstrous medical bills, but you are also not guaranteed paid time off to recover. I propose that workers who receive FMLA will be given 80% of their average monthly income while they are unable to work.
The United States shouldn't only join the world in protecting family values, we should lead it.