Sen. Kamala Harris has unveiled a new plan for up to six months of paid family and medical leave on Monday. The plan is currently the most substantial on the subject to this point in the 2020 Democratic primary field.
According to a report by Huffington Post, Harris released the plan Monday as part of her “children’s agenda.” HuffPost says the six month total could be aspirational, going further than anything considered in the country.
“Guaranteeing six months of paid leave will bring us closer to economic justice for workers and ensure newborn children, or children who are sick, can get the care they need from a parent without thrusting the family into upheaval,” Harris said in a statement, reported by HuffPost.
Any worker who makes under $75,000 would receive their full salary while taking time off to deal with a serious health condition such as:
- Caring for an infant or newly adopted child
- Addressing domestic violence
- Harassment or sexual assault
- Addressing military caregiving and leave
Harris would pay for the plan with the revenue from a payroll tax — which would be shared by employers and employees — and by levying penalties on companies that fail to close their pay gaps.
The issue of family leave has largely been absent during discussions of the Democratic contenders, with much of the debate being focused around health care, gun safety, and immigration. Vicki Shabo, senior fellow for paid leave policy and strategy at New America, told HuffPost she hopes the plan will be a turning point leading to greater discussion on the issue.
“I have been deeply disappointed in how little discussion there has been,” Shabo said. “This might start a domino effect among candidates.”
Harris' "children's agenda" also includes a plan that would expand access to high-quality preschool, a proposal to create a federal Bureau of Children and Family Justice, and an effort to cut child poverty.