March 10, 2023
Statement on President Biden’s Paid Leave Proposal in His 2024 Budget from Eileen Appelbaum, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research:
The Center for Economic and Policy Research, an organization dedicated to rigorous research and policies that enhance the welfare and economic security of workers and their families, welcomes the commitment President Biden’s budget makes to meeting the needs of working people for paid time away from work to care for themselves and their families.
In the strongest commitment to paid family and medical leave in US history, President Biden’s budget calls for $325 billion to fund a permanent paid family and medical leave program. This would provide up to 12 weeks of paid leave to care for one’s own serious health problem or a loved one’s, bond with a new child, address a loved one’s military service, or seek safety in case of sexual or domestic violence. It also provides $430 million in additional funding to the Department of Labor for vigorous enforcement of labor laws, including the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act. The Women’s Bureau at the Department of Labor would get $10 million to support states’ paid family and medical leave initiatives. President Biden also calls on Congress to guarantee that workers have seven paid sick days a year.
While employers make these benefits widely available to managers and professionals in the top quarter of the wage distribution, most frontline workers in the bottom quarter do not even have one day of paid leave. Workers earning middle-class wages, like the railroad workers who went on strike this year, may also have little access to paid time off. President Biden’s budget demonstrates his commitment to ensuring that all workers can be productive employees and caring family members.
“President Biden’s paid family and medical leave proposal is a game changer. Wage replacement for lower-income workers is high enough to make taking leave affordable. And the administration’s definition of family is inclusive enough to apply to blended, multi-generational, and all the variants of today’s working families,” says Eileen Appelbaum, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research.