Kamala Harris proposes six months paid leave for all workers in new plan
WASHINGTON — California Sen. Kamala Harris on Monday announced a plan for working families that would allow up to six months of paid family and medical leave.
The 2020 Democratic candidate announced her proposal — part of her “Children’s Agenda” — in Iowa on the second day of a three-day campaign tour across the state. Harris’ Iowa push comes as part of her campaign’s renewed focus on voters in the Hawkeye state.
If elected President, Harris promises in the plan to “put children at the center of her decision-making and treat their needs with the same urgency and importance as we treat any other national priority.”
Paid leave would be available to all workers under the proposal, including part-time employees, self-employed workers, and independent contractors. Workers would have the ability to use it for “personal serious health conditions, caring for new children or family members with serious health conditions, or addressing medical or non-medical needs” caused by domestic violence or sexual assault, according to the Harris campaign.
The plan would also allow low and middle-income workers making less than $75,000 a year to receive full wage replacement during their leave, and benefits would phase down for higher-income households.
A Harris administration would create an Office of Paid Family and Medical Leave to oversee the program and workers on leave would have protection from retaliation, according to the plan. The office would be funded through a “combination of employer and employee payroll contributions and government expenditures paid for by tax increases on the top one percent and big corporations,” according to the campaign.
“Guaranteeing six months of paid leave will bring us closer to economic justice for workers and ensures 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 announcing the plan. “To give all children in America the opportunities they deserve, this comprehensive children’s agenda will protect their rights, ensure they have access to health care and high-quality education, and dramatically reduce child poverty.”
Harris’ “Children’s Agenda” is the latest in the candidate’s plans to level the playing field for American workers, joining her proposed LIFT the Middle Class Act, black entrepreneurship plans, equal pay proposal and push for higher salaries for teachers.
It also joins other plans focusing on working families being proposed by 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, and a paid family leave policy push under the Trump administration that has been spearheaded by President Donald Trump’s daughter and White House adviser, Ivanka Trump.