We need a national solution to help more employers offer paid family and medical leave (PFML). PFML has the attention of leaders on both sides of the aisle and across all sectors because it’s about a basic human desire – the ability to care and be cared for. In the past four years, the number of federal lawmakers supportive of PFML has more than doubled. More than 70 percent of millennial business owners are interested in providing PFML. This month, Congress also took action by including a paid parental leave provision for federal workers in the annual defense authorization bill.
And, this week, the White House will lead a summit on PFML, spearheaded by Ivanka Trump.
It’s an issue our industry is keenly focused on. For starters, caregiving directly affects a person’s financial security and ability to save for retirement. One in five women take time out of the workforce to care for family. On average, women lose over $300,000 in wages, Social Security benefits, and retirement plans over a lifetime because they took time off work to care for family.
The life insurance industry is already actively engaged in supporting families in maternity leave. If an employer today is offering paid maternity leave, they are likely using our industry products to do so through our short-term disability income insurance.
In fact, 47% of full-time private sector workers are covered by short-term disability policies, and the number one paid benefit is maternity leave.
Families need a solution that expands the private option our industry is already providing. We’re working diligently to expand coverage and services for employers, and to innovate private market solutions to meet the growing need.
Earlier this year, our industry convened a conversation between program administrators, life insurance companies, and think tanks to have a discussion about the best path forward.
Amy Friedrich, President of U.S. Insurance Solutions of Principal Financial, and Dan Fishbein, President of Sun Life U.S., represented our industry during this discussion. Dan will join Jim McGovern, Senior Vice President of Employee Benefits, OneAmerica, to take part in the summit at the White House this week, along with others.
By bringing the full intellectual resources of our industry to bear, we are working to support policymakers and help develop results that work — something great for Americans.