Solutions for Paid Family and Medical Leave

Jan 28, 2020

The American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) commends House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richie Neal (D-MA) and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX) for convening a hearing today on paid family and medical leave (PFML) benefits. Read our statement for the record for today’s hearing here.

This topic is of vital importance to millions of Americans who provide care to a loved one. For too long, many U.S. workers, especially low-wage workers and employees of small businesses, have had to choose between their job and their family.

ACLI believes that paid family and medical leave benefits provided through employer-insurer partnerships are vital to the health of the workforce and the financial security of families.

Insurers provide important support to families through private disability income insurance, the most common form of income protection for workers. In 2018, the private employer-based system paid American workers approximately $5.2 billion in short-term benefits as they recovered from conditions that kept them from working, including those associated with pregnancy and the birth of a child.

America needs solutions that expand the private option our industry provides – solutions like the Fischer tax credit.

Sponsored by U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), the credit gives small businesses a valuable incentive to provide family and medical leave for their employees.

The 2019 year-end governmental funding package wisely included a one-year extension of this tax credit. Congress should make enhancements and make this credit permanent.

Building on the Fischer tax credit, Congress is considering additional measures that incentivize employers’ ability to voluntarily implement a private program. Alongside that, lawmakers in many states are considering PFML proposals of their own.

ACLI supports proposals in the states which will enable the private market to cover family leave as well as medical leave. Life insurers have the proven expertise to design and administer paid family leave plans that meet the needs of consumers and provide employers and employees flexibility and choice.

Life insurers are eager to work with lawmakers – across the country and on Capitol Hill – to broaden coverage of vital PFML benefits to American workers.

Alane Dent

Alane R. Dent served as Senior Vice President, Federal Relations for the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI) until March 2020. She oversaw issues affecting the life insurance industry; including tax, retirement security, financial services, international affairs and life insurance products.