Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) unveiled a novel idea for offering parental leave to more Americans on Thursday: Having them pay for it with their own retirement savings.
Instead of mandating that employers cover paid family leave, or proposing new sources of revenue to pay for it, the proposal would give new parents the option of dipping into their future Social Security retirement benefits so they can have time off to care for a newborn. The trade-off would be significant: lower Social Security benefits for life ― and possibly waiting as much as a year longer to retire, according to analysts.
“A program that only covers parents caring for new children, provides no leave for family care and personal medical needs, and forces parents to choose between paid leave and retirement security is absolutely the wrong way to go,” Debra Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, said in a statement Wednesday. “In fact, it is reckless, irresponsible and ill-conceived. This is a Social Security benefit cut for the working people who need Social Security the most.”