Helping American Families

May 17, 2024
Newborn baby boy looking at the camera while his mother is holding him.

Momentum continues to grow in Washington D.C. toward bipartisan measures to support the expansion of paid family and medical leave benefits for more American families.

Recently, ACLI joined the Joint Tax Committee, Ernst & Young, the Society for Human Resource Management and the Bipartisan Policy Committee for a roundtable discussion hosted by the U.S. House Bipartisan Working Group on Paid Leave.

The participants focused on ways to help more employers provide paid family and medical leave benefits, including legislation sponsored by Sens. Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Angus King (I-ME) that extends and enhances the Section 45S PFML tax credits.

Sens. Fischer and King worked on legislation in 2017 that created a two-year general business tax credit for employers that voluntarily offered up to 12 weeks of PFML to employees under a certain income level.

That bill was an important first step. But it is scheduled to sunset in 2025. So, Sens. Fischer and King introduced new legislation this year that would make the 45S tax credit permanent.

ACLI and other roundtable participants discussed several other ways to improve the 45S law including:

  • Encouraging more employers, especially smaller ones that can’t self-fund their paid leave, to take advantage of the credit by allowing the tax credit to be taken against premiums paid for DI and PFML coverage.
  • Eliminating an existing barrier to participation for many companies, especially small employers, by making it easier, more flexible, and less complicated to claim the credit.
  • Making it easier for larger employers with employees located in both PFML-mandate states and non-mandate states to claim the 45S tax credit by amending certain provisions.
  • Building awareness and attracting higher participation by increasing outreach to employers about the availability of the tax credit. 

These are just some of the ways the federal government can promote expansion of PFML. Other ideas would ease the administrative burden for employers caused by the wide variety of state leave laws and reduce the confusion about how benefits are coordinated, and streamline data reporting to simplify for employers and allow for assessment of how PFML models are working across the country.

House Working Group members Co-Chair Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Co-Chair Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Randy Feenstra (R-IA), and Mariannette Miller Meeks (R-IA) were receptive to these ideas and continue to look for opportunities for legislative solutions.

ACLI looks forward to more dialogue and action on this vital topic that means so much to American 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.