Fiscally Responsible and Sustainable

Dec 19, 2023

Life insurers believe that no one should have to choose between caring for their family or maintaining their paycheck. With paid family and medical leave (PFML), Americans can be certain that they won’t suffer financial hardship if they must take off from work to provide care.

Last week, ACLI hosted a webinar about PFML for the Congressional Financial Security Caucus. ACLI staff and experts from ACLI member companies American Fidelity, MetLife, Principal and Unum discussed ways that life insurers currently provide paid leave to employers and workers across the nation, as well as ways to expand access to more Americans.

The timing for the webinar was optimal, as two days later a bipartisan, bicameral Congressional working group requested information from stakeholders on “expanding access to paid parental, caregiving, and personal medical leave in a bipartisan, fiscally responsible and sustainable way.”

The bicameral group is building on efforts earlier this year by the bipartisan House Paid Family Leave Working Group, which hosted a briefing series with policy and business experts, including life insurers.

Life insurers look forward to providing lawmakers with information about how to improve the current paid leave system. Utilizing the current paid leave infrastructure that is working very well for workers and their employers is much more fiscally responsible and sustainable than starting a new program from scratch. 

Our ideas on how to build from the existing paid leave system include:

  • Tax credits and other financial help for employers through enhancements to the Fischer-King Tax Credit.
  • Working through the Department of Labor to create job exchanges that match state and local job training programs with employers needing to fill seats during absences.
  • Providing funding to bolster adoption of minimum standards in states and supporting administrative simplification and alignment initiatives between state and local PFML programs to ease administrative burden on employers.
  • Creating a public-private partnership to make it easier for independent workers to access paid leave benefits from the private sector with government-facilitated enrollment.
  • Giving low-income individuals access to the same high-quality private paid leave opportunities as other workers by giving them premium payment assistance.
  • Conforming federal and state tax laws to give paid family leave benefits the same tax treatment as disability income and paid medical leave benefits.

Paid leave is an issue that resonates with families across the nation. We are encouraged by the opportunities for bicameral, bipartisan policy collaboration. We look forward to working with stakeholders and legislators on programs that will expand access to this vital coverage that supports American workers and their families.

Lauryl Jackson

Lauryl Jackson is Vice President, Federal Relations for Financial Income Security and Diversity & Inclusion for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). Prior to joining ACLI in January 2020, she led government affairs strategy for the priorities of the pharmaceutical industry.

Cindy Goff

Cindy Goff is Vice President, Supplemental Benefits and Group Insurance at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), where she develops and implements state and federal public policy positions and strategies to ensure access to innovative financial protection products. She has also served as Director of Health Policy for Aflac and VP of Product Policy at America’s Health Insurance Plans.