Press Release

Gillibrand, Cassidy, Houlahan, Bice Lead Bipartisan, Bicameral Paid Leave Working Group To Request Input On Paid Leave Proposal

Dec 13, 2023

Bipartisan group of eight senators and six House members sent a letter to advocates, experts and organizations requesting suggestions on a bipartisan national paid leave policy

Today, U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Stephanie Bice (R-OK) led a strong bipartisan, bicameral group to request information from experts, researchers, organizations and others on a bipartisan paid leave proposal. Gillibrand and Cassidy were joined by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Todd Young (R-IN) and Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Stephanie Bice (R-OK) and Representatives Colin Allred (D-TX), Julia Letlow (R-LA), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA) and Haley Stevens (D-MI).

The lawmakers sent the letter to a wide range of individuals, organizations, researchers, policy experts, and others to request suggestions for expanding access to paid parental, caregiving, and personal medical leave in a bipartisan, fiscally responsible and sustainable way.

“The United States is the only industrialized nation without any form of national paid leave and it hurts our families, our health and our economy,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The overwhelming majority of Americans support paid leave and believe it’s good for families as well as for business. I am proud to partner with this strong group of bipartisan lawmakers and I look forward to using input from a wide range of experts to shape our proposal.”

“Americans often face the impossible choice between caring for a newborn child and returning to work to make a living,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We want to hear from parents, experts, and business leaders to help form a solution that works for families without placing a burden on businesses. This request is an important step in that direction.”

“The lack of paid family leave continues to impact our workforce and economy,” said Rep. Stephanie Bice, Co-Chair of the House Paid Family Leave Working Group. “Finding solutions that work for both individuals and businesses is critical. Today’s RFI will guarantee that we are considering the vast complexities needed to ensure that any paid leave policy promoted in Washington works as intended. I appreciate the support of my colleagues both in the House and Senate and look forward to continuing to work to find solutions.”

“I was a young Lieutenant in the Air Force when I first became a mom,” said Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, Co-Chair of the House Paid Family Leave Working Group. “I didn’t have access to comprehensive paid family leave, and that stress, combined with child care issues on base, is a large part of what led me to separate from active duty. For our service members and all Americans, we must do better. Whether taking care of an elderly parent, or bonding with a newborn, support for paid family leave is at historic levels across the nation and across both chambers of Congress. It is that momentum that helped lead us here today. This bicameral, bipartisan RFI is a first-of-its-kind effort and a great next step as we advocate for and pass enduring policy solutions.”

“No one should have to choose between caring for their family or earning a paycheck – but this is sadly the reality for so many, especially women,” said Senator Hassan. “I am glad to be part of this working group to examine a diverse, bipartisan array of options for expanding paid leave and ensuring that all Americans are able to have the support that they need for their families.”

“It is imperative that Congress work on fiscally responsible solutions to expand access to paid leave,” said Sen. Lummis. “I came to the Senate to address the out-of-control national debt and cut government spending, which is why I welcome input of ways Congress can address this issue while ensuring it is doesn’t add to our debt or adversely impact small businesses.”

“As a father, grandfather, and former caregiver to my grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer’s, I know first-hand the value of family and medical leave, and the positive impact it has on individuals and workforce development” said Senator Tillis. “Parents, families, and economic productivity thrive when employees don’t have to choose between taking care of their family and participating in the workforce. I’m proud to work on a bipartisan basis to pursue family and medical leave policies that will support millions of families across North Carolina and the country.”

“Hardworking Arizonans deserve access to paid leave when caring for themselves or a loved one. We are working on fiscally-responsible and sustainable solutions supporting hardworking Arizonans, their families, and employers,” said Senator Sinema.

“Employers across our nation are struggling to fill open positions, and it is imperative that we evaluate how a paid family leave solution can help address this challenge. I have long supported opportunities for the federal government to partner with states and employers to provide greater flexibility for working parents. I look forward to joining with this group to develop a bipartisan, fiscally responsible solution that supports Hoosier families,” said Senator Todd Young.

“As the first member of Congress to take paternity leave, I know that access to paid family leave is invaluable and that it’s past time every American had the ability to be with their new baby or care for a loved one in need,” said Congressman Allred (TX-32). “This shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and I’m proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to learn more about how we can best deliver for the American people on this critical issue.”

“On an issue as important as paid family leave, I’m grateful to be working with my colleagues in a bipartisan effort to receive diverse input from stakeholders for our working families and businesses,” said Rep. Letlow (R-LA)

“Paid leave fosters a healthier, more engaged workforce, supports business growth and stability, and contributes to the overall prosperity of the American economy” said Representative Miller-Meeks (R-IA). “This bipartisan, bicameral request for information will help identify ways in which we can implement federal policy to improve paid family leave for employers and small businesses nationwide.”

“Paid leave is essential to ensuring that American families have the support they need and our economy retains a competitive edge in the 21st century,” said Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI). “Without paid leave, families struggle to welcome new children, recover from child birth, or care for loved ones at the end of life. It means we lose knowledgeable, skilled workers, particularly women, that could help move our economy forward. I welcome this request for information and look forward to incorporating these recommendations into our bipartisan recommended paid leave policy.”

The full letter can be found here and below.

December 13, 2023

To Whom It May Concern:

As members of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional working group exploring solutions to expand access to paid leave for all Americans, we write with strong interest in hearing diverse stakeholder input. To inform our efforts, we invite individuals, organizations, researchers, policy experts, and others, to share your suggestions for expanding access to paid parental, caregiving, and personal medical leave in a bipartisan, fiscally responsible and sustainable way. We will closely review submissions to help inform ongoing bipartisan efforts, and individual submissions will be kept confidential. Please note, trustworthy data and research with proper citations will be appreciated.

We invite your response to the following:

  1. What should the federal role be, if any, in providing, promoting, and/or incentivizing paid leave? And how should this interact with the role of state government programs, and/or employer programs?
  2. What types of leave should a potential federal program cover, at what length, and why? How should different types of leave be prioritized? Should different types of leave be treated differently or does doing so create adverse effects?
  3. Please describe your recommended framework/s, focusing on what you believe could be a bipartisan and passable solution/s to expanding paid leave nationally?
  4. Please describe alternative ways any proposed framework can be financed, including possible payfors. What financial mechanisms should be considered to expand paid leave?
  5. How can proposed paid leave frameworks avoid creating unintended distortions, such as marriage penalties, reductions of private sector paid leave coverage, etc.?
  6. Should government support for paid leave  be focused only on the most vulnerable individuals in our society, or on all Americans regardless of means or need?
  7. What supports do small and mid-sized businesses need from the federal government to provide paid leave to workers?
  8. What does research say about the impact of providing paid leave on worker health, job satisfaction, economic mobility, child development, breastfeeding rates and related health outcomes, fertility rate, infant mortality, elderly health, public assistance levels, family income, and recruitment and retention efforts?
  9. What lessons should the federal government learn from successful or failed attempts at expanding paid leave in U.S. states or other countries?
  10. What other information would you like us to consider as we attempt to chart a bipartisan path forward?