Letters to the Editor

Ernst should back paid leave, not a loan

Why don’t we have paid leave for parents? My daughter, a resident of Bulgaria, has an entire year of government paid family leave. Bulgaria, the poorest country in the European Union, provides 410 days of maternity leave per child. The United States is the only industrialized country in the world without government-paid family leave.

The Urban Institute estimated that a parental leave program for 12 weeks would cost $15 billion in 2025, based on participation of 50 percent of new parents. Isn’t that a better investment than sending more than $1.5 trillion over the next 10 year to the top 1 percent of U.S. earners via a massive tax cut?

Sen. Joni Ernst, who voted for that tax cut, has introduced a Paid Family Leave Bill. This bill is nothing more than a loan that a parent would take out against their own Social Security contributions. If a parent took a year off for paid family leave, they would, in turn, work two years to repay the amount loaned from social security contributions. This is not paid leave. It would have the most negative effect on the people who could least afford to stay home with their children without assistance.

If Ernst is serious about providing paid parental leave, I propose she fund it by taking back some of that tax cut to the wealthy, rather than forcing families to raid their own retirement resources.

Gloria Zmolek

Cedar Rapids

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