Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris announced the most generous family leave policy of all candidates—requiring six months of paid leave for new parents and caregivers. The California senator released the news as a part of her “Children’s Agenda.”
Sen. Harris’ plan would become an extension of the current Family and Medical Leave Act that allows all U.S. workers 12 weeks of unpaid leave for qualified medical or family reasons. The new plan expands that to six months, but with paid leave for a broader set of reasons, citing care for any medical or non-medical needs when a child or dependent has been a victim of domestic violence, harassment, sexual assault or stalking. In the plan “family members” are defined not only as children, but also parents, grandparents, siblings, in-laws and even “chosen family,” meaning those not blood related but considered like family.
Though it’s not clear how much the plan would cost, Sen. Harris’ campaign said it would be paid for through a combination of payroll contributions by employers/ employees plus the proceeds of fines levied on corporations for paying women less than men or paying ethnic minorities less than white employees. Additional funds would come from tax increases of the top 1 percent of tax-payers and corporations.
The rest of Sen. Harris’ “Children’s Agenda” is said to be announced during her visit to an Iowa elementary school on Monday, Oct. 7. According to her campaign, the plan is meant to focus on cutting childhood poverty in half.