tv House Ways Means Hearing on Paid Family Medical Leave CSPAN August 6, 2019 4:03pm-8:01pm EDT
answer hatred with unity, devotion and love. now is the time to overcome evil with good. [applause] that is all that in times of trial, the market people turn to faith and prayer. the bible tells us that if these people were called by his name will humble themselves and pray that he will hear from heaven and he'll heal our land. in this dark hour for the people of el paso indian, we do well to pray. the pray for healing to pray for the families of those that were lost and injured. to pray for these communities
and our nation as a whole. >> next congressional panel looks at developing a national paid program house ways and means committee vote on how to pay with advocating a payroll tax on employers and employees. congressman shares a committee. >> the committee will come to order. good morning and welcome to our witnesses some who have traveled considerable distances to be here.
before we move toward scheduled committee business i want to take a moment to acknowledge the recent tragic passing of pamela, a valued member of staff with the joint committee for over 40 years. a reminder again of the considerable talent that exist sometimes outside of publicity. pamela began her career as a joint committee on taxation in may of 1991 and applied her skill in many legislative issues with large and small. her colleagues on the joint committee almost tireless and dedication to the joint committee and she accepted projects that were analytically difficult and often that of efficient. she was working on a legislative issue just five days before she succumb to long-term health issue on april 7. choose a leader in the development of the macro economic models into the joint committee in 1997 on modeling
the consequences of tax policy which represents her first attempt to bring serious and thorough macro economic modeling to bear under changes in tax policy. she is leader of the drink committee macroeconomic team for 20 years and oversaw the publications of congresses first macroeconomic report of the legislation. she worked on a long list of legislation, notably the 2017 macroeconomic reports on the legislation that became public law, 111597 and a key economist in the collaborative efforts with the congressional budget office to estimate the effect of the affordable care act. she served as a drink committee and lead a commonest offer by congress for the taxation of bows and arrows fishing tackle and firearms and ammunition
reminder of the policies that come before the committee. members know we have to rely on the economic analysis of the joint committee staff to do import work with this committee over many years, they were a very important source of much of economic information. most important, she was a wife, mother, friend, and very dedicated servant and we sent our deepest condolences true family and friends remain grateful to her contributions. with that i want to recognize ranking member brady who also will make a few remarks. >> thank you chairman. congress only works because of dedicated public service work behind the scene. these intelligent individuals never sees the spotlight, never ask for praise and nor do they see credit for helping congress to pass laws positively impacting millions of families. more than a quarter of a century pam was one of those many public
servants who help the committee in countless ways. one of the joint committee on taxation senior economist she was a leader as a term into a macro economics, her expertise was invaluable in helping staff, members in helping me navigate tax policy and how safe to our economy especially as it relates to healthcare. committee members and staff all attest that she was smart as a whip, a straight shooter and above all dedicated to studying the complex taxation systems that make our economy and our government function. on behalf of republicans on our committee i joined chairman neil and offer our condolences to pam's family and all the staff during this time. the committee forever holds a gratitude for her service and she will be greatly missed. >> thank you very much.
we are here today to discuss what it means for working americans across the country that the united states is the only industrialized nation that does not critique any access paid family and medical leave. no one should be forced to choose between caring for a loved one or dealing with a serious medical condition paying bills. they face destroys all differently. nearly all workers will need to take time away from work at some point to deal with serious personal health issues, care for a family member or to welcome a new trial. for middle-class workers especially those on the lower end of the pay scale taken unpaid leave makes it impossible to leave. the struggles without income or short present time then cut into these opportunities and we simply see families that cannot afford undertake any leave from the responsible use. fewer than half of the american workers currently have access and only 17% received paid to their employers. despite claims we know the tax bill was enacted in it did not
change that. the vast majority of those benefits still go to people at the top including wealthy shareholders as evidenced by record $806 billion in stock buybacks paid out in 2018. to the extent that workers are seen the benefits or wages, this is a result in some measure of a tight labor market and does not benefit all equally as a result of estate stepping up because the federal government has failed to act. it does not mean this term to workers and their families and makes it difficult for employers to recruit and retain workers. a small business owner would like to provide paid leave but cannot without the backstop and the lack of access by 14 talented hard-working people take a step back in the crease and drop out entirely. this is a problem that is ongoing to grow, the most common
reason they take leave today is to deal with their own serious medical conditions while remaining attached to the labor force. population is aging and health and human services estimates about half of americans will develop a disability serious enough to require care. this means the number of american workers of the personal medical leave and the number of american workers carrying for other members is only going to increase. it is the more than 25 years since a family medical leave act was enacted. the family medical leave act was an important first step in providing most workers with access to unpaid leave. i voted for that major three times. twice vetoed and once subsequent lease signed in law. since in a mercantile taken over 200 million times improving them wrong. nearly 10% reported problems requiring the law and help them by reducing turnover in improving morale. several of our states have
successfully built on the progress made by family medical leave and implemented comprehensive paid leave laws. 2021 my state of massachusetts will become the sick state to implement a paid leave law and earn comprehensive paid leave benefits when they need them. the results of the state efforts speak for themselves. researchers found access to paid leave increases wages for women and children. increases labor force attachment participation and reduces use of public assistance, reduces infant mortality and nursing home initiatives. majority of states would support the state paid leave laws and providing those laws as help their businesses or add effect. this is limited to a number of states that we acknowledges 20 that the federal action is necessary. american workers have been outspoken about the importance of paid leave for all workers.
we are here today because we've heard from them and it's bin laden clear and without the tobacconist the ranking member mr. brady for an opening statement. >> thank you chairman for this meeting i want to help workers and businesses succeed. republicans have a party of life we understand babies and loving parents and all resources available as they raised their family from conception to the breathing room to growing years to 18 years. republican support expanding access to paid medical and hope to work the democrats and president trump to find the right way to help families balance work and family. we believe access to family leave produces preventable death of new moms and babies, helps with family bonding, increases employee morale and increases productivity. they have taken important steps to help our local businesses on
the paid family leave programs. as part of the tax cuts and drawbacks, republicans create the first ever national tax unpaid family medical leave. we know every family is different. millions of families welcome a child each year there are other families who do the important work of taking care of an aging relative. under republican leadership last congress we passed the family caregivers act, new law that directs apart from health and human services to create a national strategy for their support for family caregivers to keep their loved ones at home rather than a nursing home. we passed the laws of the va should act our heroes who served our country's to be taken care of by the families within the va system. republicans are proud to champion these vital initiatives to send in the motion the engine that is making paid leave a reality for my family's today.
every dollar counts for families. tax cuts and drawbacks we doubled the tax credit to the largest amount in history. increases in expanded it so 8 billion more families working-class households can access this important credit and puts expenses of raising kids. we no good jobs with growing wages are rejecting the slow growth of the path the republicans are creating growing 50% faster than the obama projection. low federal employment and nearly half a century. the fastest current projects in more than a decade progressive being good further among blue-collar and low income workers. because america today is a million more job openings in the competition amongst businesses, this is encouraged more businesses to provide and expand benefits to workers, like paid
family medical leave. that is good news. all of u.s. workers have access to paid maternity medical leave and renu resource management businesses offering this have tripled just in the past four years and that's without a federal mandate. as you work to expand paid medical leave their row concerns that a new one side fits all washington mandate will limit family flexibly. it can be extremely costly, higher taxes on workers, reduce job benefits, or education social security medicare to pay for this costly new mandate. the true cost of a family meeting mandate is up to $1 trillion in the first decade according to the american act reform. it needs to go higher. this can force an average worker making $50000 a year to pay more than $58000 and higher payroll
taxes and lower wages over the work career whether they ever use the program or not. families in the 21st century want flexible to, not a smaller paycheck for life. $50000 is a lot of money. that is one full year of retirement, $50000 would be better spent by families on what they need like tapirs for child care or education. let's join google businesses the flexibly to plan their best for their workers instead of taking money away from hard working moms or dads. republicans we are making permanent medical leave tax credit which expires at the end of this year in support taken away valuable tax incentive if were serious about paisley. let's make it easier for small businesses that have joined together making affordable paid
families to their workers. let's continue to empower job creators so they can tailor paisley plans to fit th workers needs, families and businesses our work under different when they do not interfere. today the question isn't whether to expand paid family leave the how best to achieve it. we look forward. >> thank you mr. brady. we have a distinguished panel of witnesses to discuss this important issue of the axis of paid family medically and how can help workers in a place in our economy. just before introduce witnesses i want to acknowledge the untimely passing of healthcare reporter robert. he spent many years sitting in this very room with many of us covering the work of our committee and he had an unrivaled knowledge of healthcare system and he will be deeply missed, we sent our deepest condolences to his family and colleagues of the new york times proved with that let me introduce our witnesses, i want to welcome marissa from my
home state of massachusetts, she is raising two high needs children in dealing with her parents illnesses. mr. anthony, he is a business owner from new jersey who can help us learn about the transition to state paid the program as the one that they have a new jersey and the effects had on his business and employees. misprint data comes to us from the center from law and social policy where she works on issue under quality and economic security she will help us understand research unpaid family medical leave programs. let me welcome susan levine from her home state and her colleag colleague, she is the state commissioner of washington state employment security department. whose state has paid family medically programs that would become in 2020. and finally, ms. rachel is a research fellow focusing on economics, the budget of the
heritage foundation for economic freedom. each of your statements will be made as part of the record and its entirety. i would ask you to summarize your testimony at five minutes or less and to help with that there is a timing on your table. you have one minute left the light will switch from green to yellow and finally to read when the five minutes are up. the can you please begin. >> good morning chairman neil, ranking member brady and the members of the committee. i marissa howard karp i live in massachusetts and i'm a proud member of moms raising. i am a wife, mother, only child and a member of the generation carrying for children and supporting may do. i want to tell you about why you believe so strongly that the national lee policy should address the full range of
caregiving needs and not only the needs of new parents. thank you for the opportunity to share my story today. i'm a nonprofit professional currently working in pediatric healthcare, my wife is in graduate school and works part-time and we have two incredible kids. a little more than five years ago i was buying back-to-school close with my 7:00 o'clock and my febrile daughter when my mom called from georgia. my dad had suffered a major stroke in intensive care. i was in a fight within a few hours and i spent the next month shuffling back and forth to help my parents navigate this crisis in the huge changes in their lives they came from my dad for his disability to walk and to speak clearly. around the time my dad got out of rehab i got another awful phone call. it was 2:00 a.m. and is traveling to work in chicago. my mother was at the er in a scan showed chad malignant brain
tumor. i was on a plane to atlanta within a few hours. over the next few months i flew back and forth 16 times as my mother underwent surgery and chemo patient therapy. when my father had another major stroke the month after my mom's diagnosis. though their lives are not the same both of my parents survived and i'm so grateful. that year was awful. we were terrified about their health and we faced financial uncertainty because none of us had access to paid leave my parents were self employed and they lost income while they were hospitalized and recently started a new job and i was worried that taking any leave would jeopardize my job security. without my job i had an idea how we would've stayed afloat. my wife was teaching at the time but we needed both of her incomes to cover day-to-day
expenses. both of my kids have intense needs and i carry the insurance for my family because the insurance available through my wife's employer would have cost more and covered less. we had so much going for us, college degrees and salary jobs, and my parents had been saving for retirement for many years. still the medical crisis almost created a financial crisis for them and for us because none of us had access to paid family and medical leave. my employer conducted then kindly supportive and able to keep my job they were flexible about when i put in hours and do a lot of remote work so even with the support and juggling was not easy without paisley. i worked on planes and in hospital rooms, and 19 and on weekends, my productivity suffered because i was exhausted and distracted. i was cut her off the people who cannot work remotely with that kind of looks bleeping my hope, nobody should have to rely on
luck or flexibly or the goodwill of a boss to stay afloat when they have a family emergency. if we had a national paid family and medical leave policy it would've made a huge differen de for my family and employer. access to paid leave would've been guaranteed and i would not have worried about losing income while also worried about losing my parents. i would not have had to rely on having a flexible job or juggling work while trying to manage my parents and children's needs. i could've taken paid leave a week or two at a time. my employer would've benefited from a subsidized insurance program and myself and put parent could've recouped some income during a financially difficult time. as this committee is discussing a national paid leave policy i hope what i've shared will stay with you. it was very difficult but it is not unusual.
although some states likely home state of massachusetts have stayed up to pass paley policies, the vast majority of families do not have access to paid leave. in making the choice between our families in the time of emergency and our paychecks is an immoral choice as a country, i believe we can do better of policy that only cover people with new children would have left my family behind. families are counting on congress to adopt a comprehensive paid leave that this country needs. thank you so much. >> thank you. mr. stan camp is reckoned as for five minutes. >> chairman neil, ranking member brady and members of the committee thank you for the invitation to testify during small business week about the benefit of paid family medically. my name is tony and i'm the owner of stan camp woodworks and were working businesses in jersey city new jersey. my invoice provide custom work to high and clients from boston
to new york city to washington, d.c. i've been running my business since 1991 and i'm a member of the mainstream alliance a network of more than 30000 small business owners. i'm a proud supporter of the new jersey family leave and temporary his ability insurance programs. the protection my business and a place count on should be available nationwide yet in most states lawmakers have failed to adopt paid family and medical leave harming the countries 30 million small businesses are 59 million employees and our communities. small firms generally do not have the capital and scale to provide paid leave, the lack of a national paley program and the management to large corporations that can use their size and market power to offer such benefits resulting in a hiring disadvantage for small business. we can change this picture. my company provides the before and after snapshot that shows
how. before new jersey adopted paid family leave i had an employee who left his job because of family needs. he did not tell me why he was leaving, but i found out his mother was dying of cancer in florida. he was too proud to ask me for help in my business couldn't have covered his salary even if he had. much of the pain and damage that could've been avoided if family leave insurance have been there at the time. my employee would've been able to take paid leave without feeling accused asking for a personal favor in my business would've been able to retain a valuable employee. but we did not have paid leave yet. in my business paid the price. this employee had been the best on my team for many years. the cost in time and money to replace them are astronomical. i had to take time away from my response bullies as an owner in my business suffer. replacing employees is
extensive. with turnover cost averaging one fifth of employees annual salaries. now with after preacher. four years ago an employee came to me and told me his wife was having twins, he needed paid time off and i recently joined the mainstream alliance where i learned about the family leave insurance program. the paperwork was straightforward, the employee and i filled out and he got the wage replacement and bonded with his twins. his very important part of my business and taking time with his family was extremely important to him. we made a plan for his time off, we moved a part-time to full-time giving the employee the opportunity to acquire new skills and as it turned out the business needed the extra help and we kept him on full-time when the father came back. from a business perspective, well structured comprehensively program i new jersey, make leave simple and affordable.
they spread cost without creating significant demonstrated requirements. when an employee needs time off they draw income from a fund to get by until the return. business owners can use a salary of only employees as they see fit. most of portly, workers with paid leave are more likely to return to their jobs. new jersey's program was not perfect out of the gate, this year we updated the definition of family to make it more representative. now for example a person can take paid leave to care for sibling. i know how important that is. because one of my sisters who was not working at the time cared for another sister for four months until she passed away from cancer. we also expanded job protection and increased weight enter wage replacement they can use the benefit bring all these changes are business friendly. we need a policy that reflects the reality for people who make small businesses run, humans
have fragile bodies and none are superman or me and illness or injury. we need a safety net that includes paid family and medical leave, paid sick days and recognize working people have families, dignity and human bodies with limitations. supporters of paid leave are often asked whether the cost of harm small business, it's a cost of not having these policies. i cannot have people distracted or sick when they're working. they make with stakes that delay or ruin projects, more portly for safety i need everyone operating at 100%. we need congress to act, we need to recognize this problem can be solved through good public policy in a well-crafted national insurance program. we are eager to contribute to such a program and make it a success. thank you for the opportunity to speak today. >> let me recognize now ms. koopa. >> make mr. chairman and bring
him over brady. i'm the director of drop quality of the center for law and social policy class. an antipoverty organization that promotes effective federal and state policies for low income families and individuals. i am truly honored to come before this committee to speak to the central importance of paid family and medical leave especially as a critical support that can help low income workers and their families stay subtly employed while having the time and resources to care for a loved one or their own health without jeopardizing the economic security. i bring to this testimony extensive experience unpaid family and medical leave at both state and federal levels and as a deputy director of the women's bureau and u.s. department of
labor, i've also expressed the power of paid family medically personally as a new mother whose baby needed to be delivered early and go to the nicu for two and half weeks. as i dealt with my own healing and worried about the babies health the one stress i do not have was economic insecurity because i was among the first people to take advantage of california's new paid family leave program. i would like to highlight five key points today. to begin almost all working people will experience caregiving needs at some point in their lives and wall paid parental leave is needed is not enough. according to the most recent data from the u.s. department of labor 75% of people take leave to care for a loved one or their own serious illness compared to the 21% taken for the birth or placement of a new trial. the caregiver for my father was suffering from all summers in the same generation i understand this need. secondly paid family medical leave strengthens individuals and families and economic
security in the national economy reduces racial disparity in wage loss and their family members. without access to paid leave families especially low income families and people of color have no good choices. one in seven and one in five low-wage working mothers report using the job because of illness. they are endorsed by employers who may see benefits like reduced turnover. at interim the states that have implemented paid family medical leave show large majorities of employers report positive or neutral experiences with the laws and that many experienced positive results such as improved employee morale and retention. paid family medical leave also put levels in the playing field for small businesses. that they cannot for the full
cost of paid leave would be able to offer it for national paid family and medical leave social insurance program such as a vision by the family act. fourth, given the current reality of work in the united states we urgently need a national paid family medically program now. the use of workers, predominantly women and cup color have low-paid shifting work schedules, limited or no work place protection and few of any benefits including access to paid family medically. workers were classified as independent contractors or who work part-time may lose out on a host of critical employer provided benefits including paid leave, vacation time, sick days or disability insurance. lastly state experiences tell us the paid family medical leave works and give us experiences on how to best implement them. this data from six states in the district of cumbia that a enacted paid family medically. i written testimony covers these in detail and i'd be happy to
answer questions. most of all the state momentum demonstrates the social insurance model for paid family and medical leave is affordable, practical and successful and broadly supported by the public elected officials and businesses. to reach all workers, it is time for us to move from state models to national action. people should not have to win the lottery or the seven jurisdictions of paid family medical leave to have peace of mind and take time to heal or care for a loved one. i urge the committee to consider and pass the family act to provide comprehensive paid family medically allowing individuals to stay employed steadily over the course of her career while caring for loved ones and providing for their own health. we cannot afford as a nation to delay the solutions. thank you for the chance to testify in and look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you terminate. in making memory brady and
members of the committee. and how it helps workers and employers succeed, i am proud to lead the washington state department. implement in the latest and one of the strongest paid the programs in the united states. from washington state to washington, d.c. and everywhere in between, paid leave is an issue that brings the worst group of lawmakers and advocates together. and has the support of families, workers and business owners alike, this is because the need for paid family and medical leave is fundamentally, we all have to give or receive care at some point in our lives. paid leave especially provides vertical financial stability to lower wage and middle-class workers who often face going into debt or taking public assistance on hit by a health crisis.
you've already heard from the other panelist about how important paid leave is to both employers and employees and ranking member brady i really appreciate your point on whether the how we do this. i am here today to answer that question and to share with you that while developing paid family medically program that works for both employers and employees, our state is proved it can be done and done at scale when a law passed a legislator was under split party control until the 11th hour of the longest legislative session in state history. throughout the process a bipartisan lawmakers worked with business labor and family advocates to see this program through with strong bipartisan support. just like whom i speak with every day, i am personally affected this program as a parent, spouse and child there
has been times in my life when i could have used paid family and medical leave. even though i worked for excellent employers i still had to cobble together maternity leave, sick sickly to get the time i needed with my babies when they were born. now with an 81 euro mother i need to be there for her in a long time from now when she needs it, balancing work and health is hard no matter who you are. i feel so lucky to live in washington state were starting in 2020 i will have access to paid family and medical leave if and when i need it. in washington state we know that you build by breaking down the barriers in society separate paths from the have-nots. everything all person needs to take leave at some point, therefore we have designed a program that is generous with up to 18 weeks off with an average of 90% wage replacement, it is
progressive meeting lower wage workers receive a higher percentage of their income while only and more likely to utilize the benefit, it's portable meaning people can utilize it even if they have multiple employers or change or leave their jobs. it is military friendly so certain military events qualify as spouse or family member for paid leave such as pre-and post implement activities, military ceremonies, time to spend with the servicemember into care for a family member injured. it is business focused with special benefits such as business assistance grants that allow businesses to help cover cost associated with an employee on leave. speaking of business, they have been involved in the design array system in part because the median cost of replacing an employee is estimated to be 21%
of the employees annual salary. and they recognize its value as a retention vehicle. unfortunately 82% of americans have no access to paid family leave at all. states are leading on the issue of paid medical leave but it is not enough. a federal program that balances the needs similar to washington state would mean where someone lives would not determine if they choose between a paycheck and caring for them or loved one. it would bring our country and to better align those much into the rest of the world as a couple marketplace gross interconnected and workers choices of where they live and work. a few short weeks gives times to bond with little once a chance to take a bite to loved one, and peace of mind to care for yourself and life's most challenging times, a paycheck is essential but time to care for yourself and family is irreplaceable. it means they will have to choose between the two and employers will know how to lose workers when that happens.
i want to thank you again for the opportunity to testify on washington state and the national model for paid family medical leave, will hope where coming together to craft something that works for families, workers and business owners alike and to strengthen the middle class. i look forward to answering any questions. >> thank you for the opportunity you to come here today. americans want paid family leave, lawmakers want them to have it. and businesses want to provide workers with it. i am here today to say it what workers to access to paid family leave not just any type of paid family leave, a mother of six in children and a wife i want workers to have access to the same type of flexible and individually tailored paid family leave that i have been blessed to receive. that is why the recent increase in state base and employer paid programs is great news for
workers. the federal paid family leave program can hold this expansion and shift the cost of existing programs which are estimated to be between 125 and $275 billion per year on the federal taxpayers. so what would the cost be for the federal programs, for starters it would mean higher taxes, family act is supposed to cost only $240 per year for the average worker. that would only finance a bare-bones program that would not meet most workers needs. when new jersey passed legislation this year to increase awareness and access programs is projected taxes on workers quadruple. providing a comprehensive federal program that is truly accessible to all workers. it would require an extra 1000 e average worker.
higher taxes would hit lower income workers the hardest. although that's opposite of what is intended it's what's happened in both state base programs and in europe. they have found that these programs of disproportionately benefited income earners at the expense of lower income earners. i went to narrow and on what policies will actually work best for workers and for their employers. this is where i would like to draw from my own personal experience. workers need flexible rapid response policies, if i get a call that my husband and children have been in a car accident, i need to leave work immediately. i don't have 30 days advance notice to provide to my employer, i may not have enough savings to cover my costs while i'm waiting for the federal benefit to kick in which could take weeks or months. in a partial benefit government might not be enough for me too afford to take leave at all.
in a recent hearing before this committee ms. tamika henry explain how her family waited six years before her husband received disability entry and benefits. workers do not want every program with the berdin process, part benefits and a significant waiting. this simply won't help them. but, a lenient program with generous benefits will invite misuse and abuse that will lead to excessive cost for workers and employers. one-size-fits-all program simply cannot meet workers and employers needs in the way the programs designed on their own terms can. with robust economy and 3.9% on appointment rate workers are in a great position to demand paid family leave and employees to provide it. i want to caution against one proposal that would use social security for paid family leave. this would violate social security purpose and lead to all
types of unintended consequent this. social security is an old age insurance program. it is not a social piggy bank for common life events, moreover the proposal whenever hold. as policymakers expanded social security mission and benefits, the cost of grown from 2% of paychecks to nearly 40% today. adding a paid family leave program would only exacerbate social security understandable cost. to conclude, i want to talk about what policies makers can do to help workers achieve access to family programs that meet worker needs and employers needs. first is a working family fax ability act so low income hourly workers can choose if they would like to substitute their overtime work for paid family leave. second to allow workers to use savings without a tax penalty to take paid family leave.
third is to increase access and awareness of private disability insurance policies to cover a lot of families needs. finally, congress can reduce barriers and prevent employers from offering paid family leave and prevent workers from being able to take it. less time spent complying with government regulation and fewer dollars taken away from workers and employers means more time and more resources for paid family leave. thank you. >> one of the things we talk about in the ways and means committee to make it sure mark and workers can keep good jobs. katie tells more about new jersey's paid leave law helps you grow your business and pay your workers competitive salaries. >> i think my testimony is a good example of that. before new jersey's paid leave law, i had an employee that left
and he was my most under most skilled employee and after new jersey enacted the law i'm an employee who is still with me today who is my most skilled employee and still with me and his two twins are now four years old. as an example of that, to me it's a huge cost to my business when i have to replace that employee. a skilled worker is so much more productive than a new worker, it takes many months for new worker to come in and get up to speed and during that time i'm not making a profit i would've made with the skilled worker. it's not the acquisition of the new worker but the training and getting that person up to the productivity of the skilled longer-term worker. >> thank you. thank you for being here and as you told your story, if the massachusetts paid leave law had
been in effect would you got the call about your downstroke and known you were entitled to take paid family leave would you have done anything different? >> yes certainly. i would've been able to take him off or, when the initial crisis happen, and focus just on my parents and my children at home without train to juggle a full-time job. it would've been in a normal stressor off me and my family if i was able to focus on those two big pieces without the third one and i would not have been concerned about our financial stability at the time. >> we talk a lot about labor participation rate in this committee. in the high in the mid-1990s was about 60% of the american people. they were fully participating in the workforce. today that number is closer to
63.8% in its varied, there's also been low growth and productivity. members of this committee, republican friends as well, we've had participation rates. to the panelist, how has this helped keep people in the workforce, why don't i go to you to give you a chance to answer that question. >> thank you for that question. we know that paid family medical leave especially in other countries have helped improve people's participation in the labor force and we know that by having access, one of the reasons we think the numbers are coming down in this country is because people don't have access to paid family medical leash which is a huge burden on families. as i mentioned in my testimony
there is an urgent and growing need for paid family medically and those who need it the most have the least access, 84% of private sector workers have no access to paid family leave this is worst under morse for low wage workers. 82% of a lack of access to paid medical leave. so the birth of a new house or sudden crisis can have an impact on these workers like their economic security. we know from data that not only can it lead to loss of unnecessary income but it can lead to loss of a job. my testimony i mentioned that one in seven workers have reported losing a job into caregiving. all that contribute to not being able to have attachment to the labor force at the rate that we think people should have access and paid family medical leave
provides a work support so families can have the time they need to care and have economic resources to be able to meet those caregiving needs without losing needed income and losing a needed job in reno that when workers are able to, especially data from california show when people are able to have access to paid family medical leave they stay with the same employer with a longer period of time that helps employers in the worker in the larger, should not come to recognize mr. brady, the number for five minutes. >> i think the good news is there's a strong bipartisan support expanding access to paid medically. questions how best to achieve it. we are often told look to the paid family medical leave but we
want women to raise up the corporate ladder. american women are three and half times more likely, managers here than in sweden or norway, three times more likely to be managers here and in france and five times more likely than in germany. european model is not what we should look for, we should be developing an american model. we also want more women in the workplace and staying there. california, new york and new jersey female participation in the workforce is lower than the national average. markedly lower, rhode island has not hit average barely. so mandates alone isn't the answer to helping women get into the workforce and stay there if that's they choose. i also worry that cost of this federal mandate is woefully low.
in a consequent that it will be swept under the rug. the former head of the c.b.o., thereafter managed a cost that this is closer to one training dollars in the first decade of growing. and i worry that righ requires painfully high taxes. they were cut for benefits or congress will rate other important programs like education, social security, medicare to pay for it. we saw this in the affordable care act, a hundred billion dollars, slashed from medicare to pay for that. and therefore the care act which one and have trained our deficit, we don't even know where that money is going to come from. so we all agree more access to paid family rate untimely, it is
good, the more than half of workers have access to paid maternity and medically, it's going without a mandate, the question is who does not have access today at work. is it primarily in smaller businesses the medium-size businesses? are there certain types of industries worth less prevalent, where do we focus our efforts in trying to expand the access? >> yes that's an import point because we are trained to target the group of workers who do not have access that is lower income workers and those who work for smaller businesses. i'll say the very lowest of income workers, families and poverty are two thirds more likely to work for small employer and those are the people who are the least poised to be able to provide these programs. unfortunately by doing this they will impose a taxes on everybody, the lower income workers will be the ones who
will be disproportionally paid for that. i base request and of looking at the lower income workers in smaller companies, it's unclear whether the family act would actually be available because under fmla they are not provided job protectively and these are the ones that worry most about losing a job if they take leave. >> 's intra- quarter of workers reported taking the last year end 75% received either full or part, if that is the case, how do we focus on that gap? that quarter gap that is not getting help when running these immediate family situations, do that you and the other panels described. how do we make sure to plug the gap. >> we look at the lower income workers in predominately hourly workers in a great option for them is a working family flexible the act that would allow for income workers to choose only if they want to, if they clock two hours of overtime one week then they could get
three hours of overtime paid time off in exchange for three hours of pay. simply choice that it would allow the average worker and paid family leave, but it would not be at a cost, no mandate is simply an option, for some reason prohibited among private employers but available to state and local workers. >> so is available now to government workers? but it's not the flexible he is not available in the small businesses or private sectors customer. >> private employers are prohibited from offering employees to have that over time. >> is sounds like an easy way to work together. i yield back. >> we reckon is mr. lewis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i like to thank you for holding today's hearing. i would also like to think witnesses for being here. you're very good. you're smart, thank you.
working families of the backbone of our country yet as you stated the united states is only industrialized nation not to provide haley. from my home state of georgia, 6% of workers cannot use or afford unpaid leave under the radical family leave act. a life happens to all of us, they call us to help those we love. no jobs sustaine should stainede way. time is almost precious and limited resources, with paid leave you do not have to choose between your jobs and your families, between your job in your own health. paid leave works. i think the witness from the
state of washington testified that paid leave works. and those of us that use paid leave know that it works. we should not have to choose between your job and your family and your own health. congress must submit every american, not just the rich and wealthy to take the time and ability to care for those dearest to us. babies, early parents, even themselves. i want anyone of you to make it plain and crystal clear how you see paid leave work. in your family, and your community, your organization, your synagogue, your church or
mosque. just testify. make it real,. >> i'd be happy to start. i have six young children so i've been fortunate to be able to take the opportunity to take leave with each of those. i will say my leave has never been exactly the same. i did not walk out one day and come back 12 weeks later with every child it has been different. some have different circumstances but the birth has required more or less time away, i have loved the opportunity for multiple employers to be able to work my importer and sit down and say this is what works for me this is what i need and have them say here's what we need and in some cases that has meant staying connected in the workforce responding to e-mails or taken a phone call here and there and am able to do that and willing to do that. that is a type of policy i hope we can have going forward
especially for women because we have seen taking leave and taking time out of the workforce can lead to reduced opportunity for promotion and growth going forward. i want women to have the same opportunity to stay connected which i don't know how that would work administratively from a federal program if you're paying benefits and also doing work. that is something that lawmakers should be considering how that would work into the family act to be able to keep workers doing what they're willing like to do. p. . .
or preparing for an ailing family member. for businesses with variable to do is to be able to afford it but this is not just big businesses like her companies in washington state like costco or microsoft or amazon who can take advantage of it at the small businesses who can now afford it a business with a million-dollar payroll it will cost approximately 1500 dollars a year for them to be able to afford to offer all of their employees as exceptional benefit >> thank you very much for your questions and yes i also agree when people have paid family medical leave we know that kids are healthier in families where their parents have stable employment and financial security. we know that in using california as an example in families have access to paid family medical
leave we see rates of infant mortality and hospitalization rates go down. for seriously a daschle children the presence of parents shortens hospital stays by 31%. this is critical for the health and well-being of families and we know parents should not risk losing a job or risk losing needed financial security when they need to take time out to take care of a sick child or a sick parent or to deal with their own personal illness. this is something that is comprehensive, universal increases national paid leave program and paid family medical needs leave as we need now. >> would the recognize the gentleman from florida mr. buchanan to inquire inquire. >> thank you mr. chairman i want to thank her witnesses as well. i read something on the front page of "usa today" a year ago
or six months ago that 62% of americans have $1000 in the bank and they live paycheck to paycheck. my point is we ball clearly made this is that it's critical we find a way to do this and to do it together. i want to explore the idea that the impact would have security ideally when you asked the administration to pick that up in my district in sarasota florida that region we have about 220,000 recipients. i've been in office as right can imagine them picking another program. they are the boldest district in the country. the fact is everybody on this committee knows that we need to deal with the liability social security long-term. we are not willing to make those tough decisions and we have to deal with that before we get into other programs but let me ask you this greszler what are
your thoughts on viability of social security or one impact that will have on seniors across the country in terms of having another entitlement program especially as we are calling on the social security administration. >> he the family equity is the social security administration to deal with these paid family leave claims and if you look at today i don't think many people have a great experience when they are trying to get whether its retirement or disability claims in particular. we are to have over 40 million americans visiting social security offices every year by the average wait time and they call in his 24 minutes. if you think of somebody is facing a medical emergency and trying to get an application in to make sure their paycheck arrives in time to meet their bills they don't have time to sit there on the phone or to travel to the social security office i am concerned about any
potential federal program within the social social security administration and as to that particular social security proposal and using benefits from that program the trade for paid leave the program is art insolvent. we only have 16 years until a runs at money benefit cuts will be implemented for everybody across florida including currently. now's the time to make the program solvent enough to add a new entitlement. >> thank you. ms. lavigne the chairman mentioned massachusetts and washington that you have got it seems like a pretty viable program going on in terms of addressing some of this. why can't this be done at the state level where you are closer to the small businesses and the employees, at that level and find a way to help you with the funding. i don't have any confidence on picking another big program only have so many other things we are dealing with that you are closer and you can use best practices to look and see what works in
various states. seems like it's always got to be a federal program by can we partner on the state level and maybe that's what we are doing by can we do more in that space? >> thank you for asking that question. i appreciate that and i think about it with frequency especially this past legislative session. we heard from pretty much every state in the union asking us what we are doing and how do they adopt best practices around policies customer care are reached our technology and the work we are we are doing around funding our program because it really is best practices across the united states. the answer is because we need a federal program, because we need everything involved. where you are located shouldn't determine whether or not you have access. >> my time is limited but i want to ask one other question. i can tell you with a very hot economy and it may not stay there or ever, they come and go but the bottom line we can't find workers. a lot of people in the state of florida and other states i'm sure having to step off and make
additional investments for their employees. they have over 1000 employees when i came here the biggest asset anyone hasn't affirmed that i see a lot of companies making those investments doing what they have to do to take care of their employees. do you have additional thoughts ms. greszler? >> as we have seen its been great news. we have had over 100 companies come out with new and expanded programs over the past couple of years. we are now in a position where the top 20 employers in the u.s. all off for programs. the only thing that is standing in the way of this continued growth is the implementation of a federal program that would shift it to the taxpayers in take away those they provided programs. >> thank you mr. chairman today you back rates with me recognize the gentleman from texas mr. doggett to inquire. >> 12 awards is paid leave is paid to stay, limited stay with
an aging parent, new baby or to deal with a medical problem. through the highs of new life and the lows of the loss caregiving can put life on hold but it shouldn't put a paycheck on hold also. with 114 million americans not having a day of paid family leave today we need a new bold national paid leave policy that would allow people to receive a portion of their paycheck for family and medical reasons. thanks to the dedication of my good friend be able congresswoman rosa delauro we have just such a proposal. the national paid family and medical leave policy that she is been working on for him as a decade originally introduced in 2013 as the family acts. i'm pleased to be a co-sponsor of that along with many of our
colleagues. he it would recognize and reintroduced this year on the anniversary of the family medical leave act that while that is very voluble protection now that three months of no pay is not a formula for success in dealing with these issues and we need a program that does provide some compensation to those who have a need for family medical leave. indeed i think our existing legal structure kind of takes us back to the "mad men" era. we do not have american families these days that our reliance in many cases on the mail breadwinner along. women's wages today provide really the key supporting wages for many families. about 80% of african-american mothers, about half of latino --
latina mothers and 46% of white mothers are the key family breadwinners. without a federal policy in areas that have totally in different state governments like the state of texas, the only hope for relief has come from progressive cities like san antonio and austin that have developed local sick leave policies that have been now under sustained attack from and different state republican leadership. the ability for someone you love to have access should be as universal as access to health care. unfortunately we have some very fundamental differences about access to health care such as we do ask us to family leave. i think it's very personal. think the story of alyssa from san antonio who found herself
trapped when the mother was diagnosed with cancer, she kept saving up what sick time and vacation days that she had for a last-minute emergency but when she finally got the emergency call to leave it was the last day of her mother's life. people shouldn't face that kind of play. i do agree with the republican witness today in with my republican colleagues that the idea which are the only ideas that i think have been advanced by republicans, not here in the house but in the senate mr. rubio i believe the only republican ideas or to undermine retirement security is in order to provide some limited protection for people for family and medical leave. that is a real step backward. we can have both time and security and security for these families. i would just ask and closing the scoop the republicans talk about
their thin veneer on their wealthy and corporations concerning providing tax credit for employers that are already providing some leave. doesn't that approach really leave out most people of color and many poor citizens of all ethnicity's and can you really point to andy goode that is accomplished in terms of increasing the number of workers who have access to employer-sponsored paid leave of which i think is a backward policy that they are asking. >> thank you congressman and i really appreciate how you describe paid medical leave is critical paid to stay. you are absolutely correct. you know what we see is that based on the numbers around access the majority of workers again, 84% have no access to paid family leave and again
that's work for the lowest wage worker. this has tremendous impact on workers of color. we note that 16% of african-american -- 62% of blackened 72% of latino workers are ineligible or cannot afford to take unpaid leave. so having just relying on tax policies or relying on other incentives that are focused on businesses, it's just not enough we leave huge gaps in access by economic level, by race, by ethnicity and by region. really the only thing we have that is going to help low-wage workers especially workers at color is a universal -- >> i think the gentlelady. thank you so much.
i think the gentlelady. but may recognize the tillman from nebraska mr. smith. >> thank you and thank you to our panel of witnesses today. it's an important topic and we have a discussion about. let me first say i believe paid family leave does have broad support and i can't speak for everyone else but that's my sense of it. however i think the legislation we are discussing today has a number of serious flaws in concerns and appears that it could be actually a bad deal for a lot of families. it's often not to say get with a one-size-fits-all solution. an example i've used more than once this year under the tax cuts and job cuts a single mother with two kids has zero federal income tax obligation until her income surpasses $50,000 per year. the social security plan we have a hearing on earlier today would
raise the same mothers taxes by about $1200 per year by the time the tax increases are fully implemented. this mom is also looking at increases in the gas taxes he pays to to get to work, increased energy proposed under the new green deal and to pay for medicare for all under the agenda we see currently in place. proponents of the bill we are discussing today claim that they will need to raise taxes on the single mom by only supposedly 0.4% to pay for the proposal however we know from recent study the taxi to fully cover the cost of this program is actually 2.9%. mr. chairman i would ask for unanimous consent to commit for the record of study from the american action form but does discuss the details. cynics awarded. >> what is the 2.9% tax increase head up to for the single mom? ultimately that's about $50,000
in taxes out of her pocket over 40 year working career. to put that in perspective someone earning $50,000 per year would be paid approximately $8300 over 12 expand of using this program. at that rate the single moment have to access the program for 12 weeks at least seven times to breakeven, just to breakeven on the $58,000 we are asking her to pay into the program. this certainly isn't robbing peter to pay paul. it's actually robbing peter to pay peter and paul and simon too. instead of focusing on how we can raise taxes on hard-working americans to create a program we should be focusing on new ways to empower businesses provide paid leave benefits that they want to be able to provide. this includes continuing existing incentives and making it easier for small businesses to band together to provide
incentives. ms. greszler we keep hearing like this one in and the previous one on social security that employs holy pay half attacks because their employer would pay the other half. in reality can you speak to where the other half is considered to be the employer's share and where that would actually come from? >> the economic consensus is any costs associated with employing somebody the verdict will come down to the employee themselves and referred from small business owners terry lucas herself who said even though sharday has the paid family leave policy this act would cause her to change the policy she has to reduce compensation for those workers whether it's lower wages, lower benefits for something else. this cost is on employs themselves. >> with the mac group -- macroview it's actually pressure is that what i'm hearing you saying? >> particularly the will bring
come people who don't have access. employers who are to pay it reduce the cost by not providing the plan any more and employers who don't have a plan already they will have to put the cost down to their workers. >> thank you and i do want to also bring up the fact that the self-employed workers we know they have to pay both sides of that equation and certainly that is common among agriculture. my main constituency as farmers and ranchers are self-employed and they have the paid those sides of that equation and certainly this would have i think a very unique impact on them but nonetheless the burden if you will that the benefits would unlikely be felled as well i hope that we can take a thoughtful approach to this realizing that flexibility and ms. greszler you point out is the mother of six that flexibility sound employees can work with their employers will
omit lake to meet their mission and thank you mr. chairman. >> i think the gentlemen. let me recognize the gentleman from california mr. thompson. >> thanks for all the outstanding witnesses we have with us today. my state of california was the first in the nation to implement a statewide paid family program. california began the process through a lot of of apocalyptic predictions that were going to come about. folks that we can afford it and it would be hard to implement and it would hurt our economy and cripple small businesses. 15 years later none of those apocalyptic warnings have proven true. the overwhelming majority of employers have seen either a positive effect or no effect at all since california's paid leave program went into effect for the small businesses were even less likely to report a negative effect. at some point in our lives all
of us need to take time to recover from the industry -- illness or injury. paid leave would benefit all of us. the success of paid leave in california and other states across the country that have done this and nearly every other developed nation on earth make clear to us federal paid leave is in fact achievable. mrs. gupta, ms. gupta you mention nine out of 10 california employers experienced positive for no noticeable effect from their paid leave program. can you talk more about how employers in california but was vaguely program proactively tended but as an unnecessary burden and in your view in states that implemented paid leave policies have those policies prompted any sort of economic downturn or have they for small businesses to shut
down? >> thank you for that question and again thank you for california's leadership on this. so far 10 million workers have benefited from california's paid family medical leave program and there are no reports of employers having any sort of negative impact. as you mentioned it's if anything we have heard only that it has had a positive or neutral effect on their productivity, on their profitability, on turnover and employer employee morale. for small businesses again we have heard no reports of this having any sort of bad repercussions on small businesses. small businesses are able to afford to pay a small amount into the program and benefit from higher employee morale, lower turnover and as mr.
mr. sandkamp said to be able to compete. small businesses should be able to obtain talent in the same way. >> thank you and thanks for filling in the part of attention because i've heard from employers in my district everything from agriculture to health care during their all struggling to find and obtain workers. mr. sandkamp you highlighted the cause for replacing an employee. think it's really important that we can't just evaluate the cost of the paid leave program by itself. we have to weigh the cost of the whole environment in which you operate. could you talk about the costs associated with losing a worker and in finding a replacement worker? >> just to start finding that
employee is difficult but that's the smallest portion. the portion is training that employee and getting them to be part of the and as productive as the person they are replacing. for me it takes over six months to get employee up to speed and during that time i met a loss. i'm generally not making money when that person is working so specifically that's the bigger cause for me is getting that person up to be efficient in just a sufficient as a person should they replace. >> once you go to the time trouble and expense of training that new worker if you don't have a program in place to encounter this you could run the risk of losing this newly trained in newly-hired employee. >> exactly. i have been under an insurance model of paid family leave for 10 years and i have witnessed specifically before levi lost a
highly-skilled worker after we had the lead program in place. because of that right there just the savings on training the replacement workers far exceeds cost of the leave itself. for me as an employer i would rather have a small cup of coffee every two weeks that i'm paying in not even a lot take him just a little cup of coffee every two weeks for each person and that's basically it. if i have to administer my own program, forget it. it's not happening. i've been in business for 28 years and it didn't happen until new jersey put in place for me and i'm someone, i want to do the right thing for my employees but i wasn't able to do that he new jersey did it i'm happy to be a part of it and i've been
behind it all along. it's something that people don't notice. my employees are aware of it but they don't see it coming out of the check because of such a small number. >> thank you very much. >> with that let me recognize the gentleman from texas mr. marchant to inquire. >> thank you mr. chairman. comes to paid family leave i think we can all agree that we need policies that are good for the mothers, good for the fathers and most importantly good for children. this committee should work together to find incentives in the tax code to help small businesses obtain quality employees and utilize leave without pulling -- putting a costly new burden on the business community. for the 15th year my home state of texas has been named the best state in the union to do business. in fact many businesses are
leaving these utopia states that have invited enormous amounts of government an enormous amount of taxes and they are coming and relocating in areas that do not have that kind of taxation. owners of small businesses in my district, my district has, surrounds the dallas airport so it has the national headquarters for exxonmobil, kimberly-clark , toyota, etc. so all of those corporations either through internal financing or external interest programs are handling this issue i think very responsibly. the problem is when you have that kind of a dynamic corporate
atmosphere in your district, you have hundreds if not thousands of small businesses that support those larger businesses and it's those businesses that i hear the most consternation from about how will we afford these programs, how will we do without these workers for 12 or 18 weeks and then most importantly the last thing they ask is how will we afford this? so ms. greszler i have three questions for you regarding the family act. how would this benefit contracting with the workers pay walk me through the mechanics of how you think this program would work and then ms. levine would you describe how it works in
washington state? the program is not yet in place. >> we are doing premium collection and we will ponch benefits the first. >> i would like to hear the mechanics. >> under the family act workers would pay .2% of their pay and employers would pay the other .2% but as i mentioned before employees will bear the 4% word in a vat pay. initially that doesn't sound like a lot a few hundred dollars per year per worker and it may not a lot for upper income earners but the impact it is disproportionally felt by lower income earners who really are living paycheck to paycheck and even if you are talking about $20 a month that's a lot for somebody at the poverty level. >> in your opinion will the amount of money funds the family act? >> i don't see how it possibly could. if you multiply how much revenue
you are bringing in and you compare that to the amount of revenue which comes to 2.5% to 5.5% of workers being able to take leave depending on how long they take the lead for. when we are looking at 25% of workers saying they have actually taken leave in reality it thinks the family act to provide benefits to 10% or 20% of workers. >> the benefits would have to be stripped down significantly. >> without rationing i don't know how you could possibly provide the level of benefits that the family act would provide for the 5 .4% family act. >> i want to emphasize that was employers and worker advocates and family advocates coming together to design that works for everybody involved at scale. i also want to start off by emphasizing washington state has the highest gdp in the country as well as the highest prep of the -- per-capita income growth
in the country. >> we have got 22 seconds. >> perfect or the structure of it as an individual has .4% of their waste that goes towards this. that's one third employer pay, two-thirds employee pay. for those businesses who are under 50 employees they can forgo the employer portion of that although the employee is still available up employ themselves of that. for the cost of a cup of coffee, $2.44 a week in individual be able to get on their 900-dollar weeks salary of 747-dollar wage on a weekly basis. >> the small businesses don't have to put their part in. >> smoke oozes that have a choice in their businesses can get up to 10 grants of up to $3000 per employee over the
course of the year so they can backfill the cost for those individuals who might be going on leave. they are sensitive for them to pay that employer portion for those that are under 50 but it is their choice. >> i thank the gentleman. let me recognize the gentleman from connecticut mr. larson. >> thank you and thank you for this hearing. for those interviewing audiences is very heartening and starting with ranking member brady's opening comments and in the discussion that has ensued let me join my colleagues in saying how connecticut was the first state in the union to pass family and medical leave more than 30 years ago. our united states senator dot was the author of the family medical leave l. act that has impacted the entire nation and
his chief of staff at the time was none other rosa delauro who is currently one of the authors of the bill that you heard mr. doggett talked about earlier. also two points with great pride someone who was the intellect behind it was a doctor edward sigler ottavio. doctors sigler worked at the center but more importantly works for president starting with president kennedy through president clinton. every single administration because they rely so much on doctors sigler's most famous for being known as the father of head start. also a very famous for saying looking at the plight of families and childcare said childcare is the crapshoot today for americans so it has remained in its up to us to solve this. that's why today's discussion is so heartening from my
perspective. ms. greszler i can't thank you enough as the chairman of the social security subcommittee for your comments about how this intergenerational battle of conflict we seem to be endlessly involved in talk about robbing from peter to pay paul robbing from one generation to pay for another. we have to strengthen math but i couldn't help but also watching the body language between you and miss the 13, seven 13 what would you say to ms. greszler about the initiative of the flexibility? are concern when you say flexibility that means the flexibility to do nothing which is unfortunately very apparent on a number of fronts not the least of which is dealing with social security and general button is levine i was going to
ask you to respond because there is great hope and intellect involved that we can come to a solution. >> i'm looking forward to the subsequent conversation we get to have because i think while it addresses the considerations around flexibility what we have said in our program is a floor, not a ceiling. they do have to provide a minimum amount of support for those employees. the share of cost between employer and employee and terms of the investment incentive all workers lower maids, with middle-income or high wage workers the ability to access and i appreciate the comment with regards to these businesses with top employers in the united states making this available. as we have done hearing from employers in fact even those biggest businesses in washington state have not been providing this benefit to all of their staff. they've been making it available to their top and staff. they are now finally able to
afford providing the benefits to all of their staff at a relatively low cost to them and certainly the employees as well. because we have made it progressive meaning lower wage workers get a higher percentage of their pay and wage replacement we have also answer the question from before around why is it people aren't accessing it? because they couldn't afford to access it. so i would suggest there's an opportunity to have that dialogue can move forward and look at what washington is doing because it does meet the needs of the cost of the benefit standpoint for employers and for workers. >> and the flexibility again that you offer to the small businessman in washington state is that something ms. greszler that you could work together on? >> i would like to talk about the ways that washington is offering its ability because i do worry when you have a
top-down mandate in terms of -- >> peter findley nunn the old irishman uses they trust everyone but cut the cards and the concern is that if you are not having a requirement and though we would trust people to use the flexibility what happens when they don't and what happens when people are left out? hopefully we can continue this conversation but thank you mr. chairman. >> we will move to a 2-1 question ratio after the gentleman from pennsylvania is recognized. spent thank you chairman and thank you all for being here today. i share your concerns. i often wonder sometimes the cost of providing the leave versus the cost of not providing the leave. i'm also a small employer and we are always trying to figure out what we can do to make it easier for people to do what mr. lewis
described as a life-changing event. and again how do you pay for all of these things and at the end of the day who does pay for it and where did the real cost why? i think the challenge today is very typical and even more difficult because we are constantly impeding other people for the same type of talent. ms. greszler one of the important provisions of the tax cut jobs act was the first leave tax credit which would help employers offer more leave benefits. you have any ideas on how this could be improved? >> as it is right now it's a temporary tax policy and tax policy is not an incentive at all. doing something that is more permanent, i would rather do this through something like the working family flexibility act tax-free savings of individuals.
the ones problem with that credit is its providing windfall benefit to employees who are they offer the program. it offers credit for new employees as well but also -- >> any other ideas on -- you said make it permanent? is that one of your answers are what would you do? talking as an employer. >> making a permanent would help increase access to employers who are not already providing the program but again they will have those windfall benefits that are provided to employers that are providing the program. that's redlich to see more growth and private individual policies targeted at the social security benefit or a-gram but it has implications as well allowing employers to have a credit against their disability insurance taxes to be paid if they provide workers with what we would call qualified disability insurance plans.
you said earlier those insurance plans cover 50% of private-sector workers. they are more out there but they cover a lot of the fees they have for maternity as well as personal medical leave. >> i'd like to talk more because i faced two dilemmas, being in member this committee and figure out how to pay for all these things than being an employee or who have had to pay these as well so it's in the choosing situation to be in. one of the things we did this recently was the secure act. we allow retirement accounts to pay for expenses related to the adoption. how does flexibility help young families? >> that's a great option for roughly 50 or 60% of families that have some type of retirement account or work or they can take that money out of tax-free when they needed as opposed to having to wait until retirement and i would encourage lawmakers to expand that beyond
parental leave to include family leave. and implemented universal savings accounts a working -- workers on it just for retirement and child education but any life purse -- and a life purpose that they need. >> sometimes there's a criticism that it helped the wealthiest and doesn't help those who are unable to have these accounts. you always face that dilemma of sometimes perfect always interferes with a good. >> it can really help low-income workers both the workers themselves feeling like i'm not afraid if i sock money away today won't be able to access until i'm 60 years old but knowing they can take it up for what they need will increase their savings and also this will be a tool for employers. it's a more comprehensive benefit to put money into universal savings accounts to cover short-term disability, paid family leave them all types of things that workers would like to take that for including
medical needs or whatever that may be. what am urged employers to expand that. >> again mr. chairman i want to thank you for holding this because this is something we all agree on and the only challenge is how do we get there? thank you for taking time out of your your private life to commend. i share your concerns. it's hard to find replacement talent and keeping them on board is critical for viability in the families of those workers. >> i now recognize that someone from -- mr. kind. >> i want to thank the witnesses for your terrific testimony here today but to give back to the previous line of questioning we have been working hard to get the secure act across the finish line. while we do allow early withdrawal from retirement accounts for these types of life emergencies we need to resist the temptation to make that easier and to expand it because we found that people do start
withdrawing for life emergencies such as this they have a hard time replenishing those funds and the whole point of the secure act is being able to expand retirement savings opportunities for more people especially women, minorities in younger adults who work for us right now. i think one of the reasons we did it is the federal policy this legislation is meant to address but i think this is true for all of her colleagues on the dais. i'm visiting businesses large and small and their number one concern is workforce needs. we at the federal level working with state partners in thinking creatively of how we make were forced entry easier and will wrap around life events because if you have a child and get sick or injured and you have an older family member that needs caring a father, mother, grandparent this is live coming at you. for too long the last remaining
development economies of the world at the federal policy we are making it hard for people to rejoin the workforce with policies like this that should be available for them. i don't view it as career or career threatening if they do have to take time away from work ms. gupta i know you are a lot of the metrics out there on this basis moving forward is indication that state policies that lead to family medical leave it's encouraging more entrants into the workforce especially female work or spend were in desperate need of right now to join the workforce even more? >> thank you again for that question and the leader from california shows having paid family medical leave the lowest paid workers especially low-wage mothers who are able to have time to bonding care for their children rep to go back to work. they went back to the same employer, increase their wages,
increase their attention so we are starting to see better access and better opportunities for low-wage workers when they have access to pay time and medical leave. i think we'll continue to see that across the state as more states adopt new policies but more than anything the urgency and the demand for paid time is so great. we can't wait just for state action and that's why we need a national and universal program. >> i would agree plus to get our growth targets. we need increased worker productivity but i also need to increase worker wage participation rates not to mention the humanity aspect of all of this. ms. levine i'd be very interested in hearing your testimony about what washington status done in my district is a large wisconsin district is small businesses are the back
owner looks like washington state is taken this into consideration the challenges of small businesses in implementing a policy of this nature. the opt-in and the flexibility that's given to them. either other policy considerations that we should be thinking about to make this easier for small businesses to adopt this and offer to their workers as well? >> thank you so much for asking that. i run our workforce agency and has a large rural areas well. we have many of the same situations that you are providing in your experience and with what they see as for a need for it to be an affordable program and generous for the workers themselves. our overall program addresses that. by integrating employers into the conversation on how you design it is really successful in addition working with employers one of the things we haven't discussed is how you
bring awareness to the program itself. with the average awareness we have done through employers have been able to ensure already awareness and over half of these renewals have a positive perspective on what we are rolling out in recognizing those values. we also do have a way for those who are contractors were so employers to utilize the benefits. there are a number of different ways we are meeting the needs of small businesses. >> i want to thank the panel is for your terrific testimony and mr. chairman thank you. i yield back. >> thank you. mr. pascarella's recognize. >> thank you mr. chairman. a great panel today. as americans who struggle to balance work and family the united states does not guarantee any access to paid leave. new jersey, my state, only one
of three states with the active pay leave law back in 2009. it was updated earlier this year mr. sandkamp thank you for being here today. you are great representative of the state. you are very particular in what you believe. you testify about the benefits of paid leave and specifically the benefits of the leave insurance program. temporary distant -- for small businesses like yours. all businesses employ half of our private sector workforce. they were instrumental in leading the way out of the great recession. every two out of three private-sector jobs between 2009
and 2013. new jersey 99.6% of businesses are small businesses. we cannot wait for small businesses to become big business. i refer to the corporations that provide programs which is nowhere near the number of people that are in this country. it's good that they do that. i salute them but that's not what we are talking about. nationwide access to paid leave is limited and there are great disparities. mr. sandkamp let me ask you this question. you own a successful small business in jersey city, the largest city in new jersey and a state that has paid leave on the books.
we know that local economies have small businesses. can you tell us how offering your important paid leave benefits helps you compete with the larger companies and corporations? >> thank you for the question. the biggest thing is my skilled employees are critical to me. when i lose a skilled employee at the cost to replace them is astronomical. its it's multiple months to train them to get them to the point where they have the productivity of the person they ever placed so that's number one. when i have those skilled employees i am at my most competitive and i'm at my most efficient. for me to be competitive with any size business i need to be at my most competitive so that
helps me do that, to achieve that. for me the model that has been enacted in new jersey has been there for 10 years of some hypothetical. it's something i've been dealing with for 10 years so when congressman asked me or was mentioning how that would affect a small business, for me it's something that i'm aware of. i've been doing this for 10 years and has not been an issue at all. it strengthens my business and help me retain my employees. i don't see in any way that a tax credit would do that. the only way we would know that is we end up doing a tax credit federally and 10 years from now we look back at 10 years from now everyone will still be covered if you guys create this law federally. the entire country will be
covered. >> you bring up an interesting point that i'd like to ask as my final question. you spoke about middle-class workers trying to earn a living to care for their families at the same time. do you think the tax cuts and jobs act help those families? >> i do not. middle wage workers don't work for those employers in rarely get benefits from the tax cuts. it's an incredible demand. for low-wage workers are the least likely to have access to paid family medical leave so it doesn't help them. those workers need a universal affordable inclusive national paid family medical leave program to benefit them. i just want to say for new
jersey also looking at new jersey's labor force data first-time mothers who use paid leave our 23.6% less likely to quit their jobs when women are able to stay in the labor force and stay with the same employer come 18.2% were more likely to stay with her employer after birth of their first child make sure they think continued to provide for their families and increases their skills. it increases their income and increases their own employers and their own local economy? >> thank you so much. i yield back. >> let me recognize the tillemann from missouri mr. smith. >> thank you for holding a hearing on this important issue. this is an issue that we should clearly be able to work together republicans and democrats on but unfortunately this congress and my friends on the other side
appear to be more focused on not this policy of but instead coming together on a policy that goes after president trump's tax returns. since 2016 democrats of dedicated their time and resources in pursuit of the president's tax returns. this topic has come up in press conferences, press releases, letters hearings, news articles and on television at least 86 times. this includes two house resolutions committee has passed a markup in on top of that for much of their new majority my friends have been in a public struggle to obtain the president's tax returns and what seems a little silly to me is that since 2015 president trump's filed nearly 400 pages of financial disclosure.
remember back in 2012 when 36 of president obama's executive staff of the country over $830,000 in back-taxes including tim geithner the former secretary of the treasury and ron kirk former united states trade representative. this back-and-forth takes a lot of time and hard work. time and work that could be going into finding bipartisan solutions to real problems like paid family and medical leave want to be clear i support paid family leave but i do not believe the federal government can create a new government mandate. that would require all taxpayers and businesses to pay into it that really run paid family and medical leave program. a one-size-fits-all approach is only going to result in leaving
people behind. it's -- if members are serious about helping american families they need to reach across the aisle so we can work together. when you think of big box stores, law firms, consulting firms for large-scale employer and the metropolitan downtown of america those are the american workers that would benefit from this program. these are the families that have the ability to take time off work in the event of a new baby or when a family member is sick but where i come from in southeast missouri worked doesn't stop on the farm. ranches and mainstream businesses cannot take on the cost disruption and lack of work that goes along with the federal government family and medical leave program. when you think of small-town buy america those are the communities that will be bypassed with this program and honestly are not even asking for
this program. the proposed legislation is estimated to cost every individual taxpayer $58,000 over a lifetime, $58,000 over a lifetime. that is well over the average family of four income in my congressional district of $40,000. those are valuable dollars lost by my constituents. in fact that is enough money to pay for two missouri in-state students to get a four-year degree. ms. greszler from your knowledge and experience how would the farmers in my district benefit from the new entitlement program >> it's not clear how they would benefit it gives these are people who can't really afford to take time off of work if you
are farming and you have the need. you have to stop doing your jobs are your district might beat is proportionally affected by that, having people paying into the system whodunit death being able to get something out of it. when we are talking about whether or not, there's a cost to it. we can't pretend there's not a cost of having workers not being there performing their important jobs. the question is do we take money from every worker and pull it into a federal program program or do we leave workers with more money on the table and i would beg to differ that putting $1100 back into the pockets of americans do the jobs act that must increase their ability to be able to afford taking paid family leave. that hasn't definite significant impact there so trying to look at ways to let workers keep more of their own money if they had next to the $50,000 and the
flexibility that would afford them to take seven weeks of paid leave over their lifetime presented into a savings account to have upwards of $200,000 when you retire. the horse would be better off to pay for her one way or another but having that money is there on the being able to use it when they want in a flexible manner and if they don't need it then is there for them in the end. >> i think the gentlelady. >> with that i recognize the gentleman from illinois. >> thank you and i would ask unanimous consent to submit for the record what i will call documented information. >> so ordered. >> thank you and thank you to all of our witnesses. more than 30% of the children in my congressional district live in families with incomes below the poverty line. about half of my constituents are african-american.
in the current no federal guarantee system out of their chances of having access to paid leave compared to those of paid workers in more affluent districts and what kind of price to my constituents pay not having access to paid leave? how does this affect their ability to increase their wages over time and to get better jobs? >> thank you for that question. as i mentioned in my testimony there is an urgent and growing need for paid family medical leave especially for the lowest wage workers. two-thirds of children who have been in poverty live with the person who is a worker so workers are struggling to make ends meet. the birth of a new child or a sudden medical crisis can cause it devastating impact on these workers lives and their economic
security. we know right now that $20.6 billion in wages per year workers lose about $26 billion in wages each year due to unpaid leave. we know that when low-wage workers incomes this impacts their ability to have food security, to be able to pay rent, to be able to take care of their children and impact their overall economic health and has long-term consequences on not only their health but also on their family's overall economic security for the long-term. .. >> employees are four times more
likely to leave if they don't have access to paid family medical leave. and, we know that has tremendous cost of the communities into the larger economies. family should not have to make these impossible choices between caring for a loved one and having to forgo a paycheck or even lose a job. as i mentioned in my testimony, one in seven workers has lost her job and job losses one of the first entryways to spiraling into poverty. so, we know that having paid family medical leave will prevent people from falling further into poverty if they are alone come workers to wreck my congressional district is one of the highest percentages of children being cared for by grandparents, followed closely by two other chicago districts. my subcommittee recently her testimony from chicago grandmother who was denied child care assistance because she was
that the biological parents. further within the african-american community, extended family like fonts, cousins, and others are often kinship caregivers in addition to grandparents. can you explain how paid the loss can be structured to ensure the tens of millions of grandparents raising their grandchildren, as well as the millions of other kinship caregivers gained access to paid leave when they need it and are their states already doing this? >> yes. that is why we need to have paid family and medical leave and not just parental leave you want to make sure that all caregivers have access to paid family medical leave when they need it. all six states and the district of columbia has that sort of a
program where they are able to help all caregivers who have that need be able to provide that need weather to a grandchild, to sibling, whether it's to appearance, so we are starting to see an expansion in the definition of family and the need of the state and that is very important. it's going much further than the family medical leave act which was pretty narrow in its definition of family. we want to have a universal program that helps all family that is comprehensive and inclusive. >> thank you, very much. in chairman, thank you. i yield back. >> i think the gentleman. i recognize a gentle lady from california. >> thank you mr. chairman. i think our witnesses for joining us. i'm glad were having this conversation about too many workers don't have access to. an overwhelming majority of latino workers don't have and
that is adequate family leave. proud to be a cosponsor of the family leave act which is to address that wrong. as a mother i know that caring for a newborn is no cakewalk under the best set of circumstances. it's really that much more complicated affairs and, who have to story about keeping a roof over her head, feeding her family and the uncertainty of -- i also know caring for children is only one half of the battle and why many working families need paid family leaves. both of my families were diagnosed with alzheimer's and suffered for dementia for decades. i am one of the lucky few. i come from a large family. i have six siblings. among us we take off part of the burden. for families that are only children, they don't have that luxury and support system. it becomes really difficult when you're in that sandwich
generation. hearing from my constituents and how they struggle to balance life and how to care for aging parents were young let me to partner with my friend, tom reed. we co-authored the character that we are soon going to introduce. that's one way to provide families more tools they need to balance those obligations. i often tell my colleagues in congress that as california goes so eventually will the rest of the country. we like to think that we are on the cutting edge. i am proud to be from the state that guaranteed paid family leave nearly 20 years ago. over the course of that implementation we have learned important lessons in setting up in modernizing a paid leave
system. i like to start my questioning with ms. miss good day. can you dig in on how california paid leave law has helped caregivers? and what lessons can members of congress take from that? >> yes, thank you for that question. california's law has benefited 10 million workers. the changes have led to increased labor force attachments, increase long-term wages, increase bonding time to be with the new child these are critical for low-wage workers. it ensures that people have the time to care and also the economic security to come back to work and be productive employees again. again, we know that when workers have labor force attachment that continues to for support them and their families security and continues to ensure that they
can be strong contributing members and their communities and in the larger community. >> i want to get my questions in. we hear a lot about burdensome regulations that are so terrible for businesses. california implemented this law and we have the fifth largest economy in the world if it weren't independent country. i was laughed when i hear my naysayers say it's going to be terrible. do you have information on how this impacts small businesses everybody thinks is so terrible and burdensome but you have experienced. >> i have been under the paid family leave insurance program for the state of new jersey for ten years. is something that has been 100% positive for me. it has help me maintain employees, significant employees
that would be significant cost to replace in retaining those employees is critical for me. also, i can tell you this, a recent survey by the small business majority said 70% of business owners across the united states are in support of her paid family leave insurance program mac i have been living with them for ten years and it has been i have not seen a negative portion to it. i know a lot of small business owners. i don't know anybody who has been negative about it. >> really quickly, ms. miss levine, which challenges have you encountered in getting the word out to small businesses about the system and how can we avoid similar challenges if we work on this at the federal level. >> again, it's more about opportunities and learning from california in particular where there hasn't been as much investment in outreach.
we have done webinars, advertising, communication. we invested 2% of our budget in outreach to the business community because premium collection and payments have started. we will start doing benefits in gd worry. >> thank you to my witnesses. >> i recognize mr. rice to inquire. >> i think that there is widespread agreement here that we need to make sure people have access to paid family leave. i think the question is how the program is designed. i think this really is a stark illustration of the difference in the approaches between each side of the aisle because in fact, we act as if this doesn't exist already, but the republicans are ready have an incentive program for paid
family medical leave. we put it in as part of the tax cut and jobs act. it's an amazing thing we can pull this off, but we offer employers 25% tax credit against any pay that you give somebody who is on leave. to encourage small business to offer this. now, last year 25% of people took leave of some kind. 75% of those got some compensation. either partial or all of their compensation. what we need to do his work on that other 25%. we need to encourage employers to further spread this. so, we put in this incentive for the first time last year. last year the first time part of the tax code and jobs act that the senate was implied provided by the federal government for employers to provide paid medical leave and we did that at the same time cutting taxes. we cut taxes and we gave
employers an incentive to provide paid family leave. i promise you, we don't have numbers yet but the number of people providing that leave has expanded dramatically and will continue to do so. now, the approach of the other side rather than providing a incentive to employers of cutting taxes is to raise taxes dramatically, particularly on the independent contractors people working on their own, working for and create another federal program think about that, we start difference. we one side wants to create another federal program and raise taxes. let's have a hypothetical guy he's a plumber and he makes $50000 a year. in this taxes going to cost 2.9%
of his pay. that's $1500 a year. i promise you if he's making 50 grand he doesn't have $1500 year to lay down. to think that guys going to vote for this? mr. can't reach her name. , you think that guys going to vote for this, if he had to vote you think you would say, i'll pay $1500 a year so that i can get six weeks of paid medical leave? to think you would vote for that? >> in my experience, that is not what he would be payments or. >> in my experience,. >> what the surveys chalices that is what this program is going to cost. do you think you would go for that? >> no. i don't think you would vote for that. i like to talk about how this impacts small businesses. >> i want you to do that but i have a couple other facts to throw out. i just want to keep pointing out, our program cut taxes and
at the same time provided this incentive which i promise you, we don't have the numbers and yet, is vastly expanding access to paid medical leave. and at the same time we cut $1100 in taxes for the average family as you pointed out. we get three, three, three. herman cain used to talk about the nine, nine, nine. we get the three, three, three. we get three 3% gdp growth. does that impact the average family? >> absolutely. >> the other side said we would never have that again. but we got that 3% gdp growth. we got 3.4% actual unemployment. you think that helps the average family? >> yes. >> thank you. we also got 3.2% wage growth. we've had 3% wage growth for the last ten months. when was last time that happened?
>> i don't have that mac it's been over ten years. do you think that helps the average family? >> it absolutely does. >> those are the facts i want to.out. we got the three, three, three which people said we would never get, 3% wage growth, 3.4% unemployment. these are magical. if you want to talk about your effect on small business go right ahead with the zero stuff. >> i will just closely i think we have something going for us in just the free enterprise system. policymakers don't always have to an something to help workers out. the case here, it's in his best interest to provide a paid if it cost 21% of all workers wage why not provide that instead of your own and that policy can be very simple to implement. you don't need a federal one to do it. >> i yield back mac i think the
gentleman. i recognize the gentle lady from alabama to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman for holding this important hearing today and thanks to the witnesses for being here. today's discussion is long overdue. too many workers across the country are often forced to choose between keeping their job are taking care of their family unfortunately in my state of alabama even on page lead under the fmla policy is an accessible for 61% of the people. whether we are talking about the birth of a newborn or family member getting sick, everyone deserves the flexibility to support their family without jeopardizing financial security. this is relevant to people in my district where the median income for a family of fours $34000. low income families face unique hurdles to financial stability. most of my constituents can afford to take time off when
faced with an emergency. paid family leave we give them the piece of mind to support their family during devastating life challenges. in 2019 workers should not have to choose between families and their job. we must make sure everyone has access to quality childcare. this will alleviate the burdens facing too many burdens. i believe it makes good business sense as well as good common sense. i'm especially touched by the words of ms. miss howard, you said that what happened to your family, first of all thank you for sharing, i had a family emergency. my family father had a massive stroke in chain left new york city to help care for my dad. it wasn't enough to send money
home. but they needed me and my brothers to help my family heal as well as my father be able to live a life very different life, still a quality life. even though he couldn't speak. he lived for 14 years. i want something you said really resonated with me that said it was very difficult but not unusual i just want to echo that. the family struggled. i left a paying job in new york city because my family needed to me to be at home. can you talk about the cost of your family you had an employer who worked with you in so many folks don't have that. can you talk a little bit about the cost in human capital to you and your family of and during
this crisis? >> yes. thank you for your question. i'm sorry to hear that you shared this experience. my dad lived for 14 years and got to see me become a member of commerce and more importantly got to celebrate the 50 year anniversary with my mom with marriage. so, we do what we have to his families. it would be great if employers would chip in and employees would gladly chip in because all of us face these kind of crisis. i really a focus on making sure it's comprehensive and not just for newborn care, but literally covers the gambit of health crisis that we as families into her. >> you're absolutely right. as a member of the lgbt community and an adoptive parents, can't really overstate how important it is that the definition of family in this definition is comprehensive.
the emotional, and psychological costs above and beyond the financial cost was enormous. my wife who also has a full-time job was home single-parent team for sometimes weeks at a time. my 7-year-old complained about how many hot dogs they ate because everybody was pinchhitting. my parents friends who fed them for months because there are times when the two of them were on different floors in the same hospital or both home but the recovery they were not even able to make a sandwich. the ability to be able to be there for them with all the enormous support of our community was really the only thing that made it work. even so, it was a very difficult situation with all the support in place. >> into our small business owner, can you talk about the cost of having workers, like you said that when you didn't have a program that was a huge cost of
capital as well as investment. >> before they enacted the paid family leave leave law i had a family i subsequently found out when he left my employment he quit and i found out later his mother was dying of cancer in florida and he needed to go take care of her, he was the only son. but he was my most skilled employee. >> it was a huge investment in huge loss. i have no more time. thank you all for testifying today. it's up to congress to figure this out because states like alabama, unlike states like washington will not enact this. we need an initial program. >> thank you. i recognize a gentle lady from washington state to acquire swimming thank you, chairman. thanks for holding this period. i welcome all of our witnesses in a special to our fellow washingtonian and fellow susan
for coming out and joining us today. commissioner, our state, the state of washington is implementing its paid the program. you are in the process of that right now. at the same time our state has been named the best day to do business in the best state to be a worker. so, seems to contradict the arguments that we have heard from others today against the paid leave programs that you need to choose between supporting workers are growing the economy. i wonder if you can talk about how these are intertwined and how you have been working to make sure we do a good job at both. >> absolutely. thank you. i think this is the closest we have worked together since we worked on -- 95. in terms of how it's been able to work for both employers and workers, we brought together a coalition, bipartisan coalition that included labor and business to design our program. our program for benefiting
workers is portable, progressive meaning workers get the lower wage you have the higher percentage of your weight you get in replacement. it's one that affords individuals up to 18 weeks of leave over the course of a year if needed. for businesses and allows them to have maximum flexibility in their provision of this. meaning, as a large business gives them the affordability to provided to all of their employees. for smaller businesses, 150 or fewer they have access to business assistance grants that allow anywhere from 1000 - $3000 up to ten times a year to cover employees only. for very small businesses under 50 employees there able to choose to participate in the employer portion of the program when they do they have the incentive they also get to
access the business assistance grants. it works for both. one final story, old woman named molly creates ice cream she's a small business owner and her staff ranges from 80 to 180. she had an employee go on leave and she pays for her own. self-insured on that front. the cost to cover her assistant to go on 12 weeks of leave is the equivalent cost to her entire staff getting the leave through the program. to be able to provide it brings it into affordability for small businesses. from large businesses we hear that they may have been providing to some of their more white-collar and higher and workers they have not been able to provide it to all of their workers no matter where they are in their business. >> thank you. you mention portability. we know the way people working
has been changing. we have more people with multiple jobs to make ends meet. people changing jobs not working for one place their entire career. if you talk about portability can you talk about how the program works in the world where we are seeing a need for more portability and how you thought through that? >> in washington state we recognize the future work is now. more and more workers have multiple jobs and are basically compiling their wage from many employers. our program belongs to the employee, not the employer. an individual can compose their 820 hours from 820 different employers if need be. it follows them. it doesn't hold them to a single employer so if they leave or do multiple jobs the benefit follows them and his maximum leave portable. it accommodates the workers of
today as opposed to the workers of yesterday. >> when we talk about building a stronger middle class high-priority of congress how does this fit in to a strong middle class? >> were seeing increased income inequality. this puts within reach of those lower wage workers because of the progressive nature the lower wage make the hyper sink is replace finally makes it assessable for individuals and brings the middle class and to assess ability as well so we can help us grow and strengthen the middle class and allow individuals were low and middle income workers to utilize this and not just look at i can't access the benefit until i make more money. they can afford to take that benefit. >> thank you and thank you for being here. i yield back. >> thank you. a recognize the gentleman from arizona to inquire. >> thank you. look, as often happens when you
are trying to really read into a subject area, little concern that much of reading over the testimony and other things we have dug into from our office, they're still a live the policy by antidote and actually looking at, so we have been trying to hunt for and was interesting this group that actually had spoken on some of it. we had been looking in previous months on actual attachment formulas and data because some of what data sets we have found and not completely match. if any of you have some of these things with the actual math. my understanding is places like washington state have not really produced data on the program yet. so, please help us. it's really important that we do policy by act not policy by antidote. i'm sorry. i don't know why i always screw up on that word.
there's a couple things i did want to go into and there's sort of far fetched. we have also been trying to look for information that we talk about things societies around the world and may be a couple states that have programs for doing that work for family formation. we see any benefit in the states that have programs? so far we can't find anything and we would really like to. as we know with the birth rate collapse in the united states what do you do for population stability? other things that are family-friendly? were not seen anything in the actual math. one thing i would like to, we were doing a little math on a couple of states that have programs for a few years. in trying to understand the state available, state-mandated benefit where it on the income
scale. says something you have looked at? we were getting the impression from some numbers that it wasn't actually benefiting the most moderate income most marginally attached workers but skewing upwards. >> the problem the states have had particularly california, new jersey and i may not know so much about the others, there is lack of awareness among lower income individuals in a bit of a barrier to access the program. there is an application process that lower income individuals have a harder time going through. in new jersey only 1% of the people eligible actually use it. i think that is why. >> 1% of new jerseyans who are eligible. >> so even with new jersey would be self then it lacks robust meant. >> that's the issue. it seems like it's really inexpensive but that's because it's not meeting its intended
population. they have taken efforts and recently enacted a law that would increase benefits including awareness and public campaign to do that. the protective costs in our to quadruple in the next year. >> any survey data from any source talking about how many organizations do this voluntarily? particularly in the last year. we are mathematically in a full employment society is use of the exciting data that popped up on monday were once again substantially more job available than available workers. so, in that environment you might want to keep employees. it should be part of your benefit package. do we see just an organic growth because of the health of the economy? >> we have seen a big growth. i don't have detailed statistics. from these reports over 100 companies have offered extended policies over the last three
years. what were trying to get out is the issue of the small businesses that are unable to provide that. this is a tricky matter. i worry that by putting a new tax on them we will make it more burdensome. if i have time i want to go through a short example. >> look, for intellectual consistently to genuinely show something our organization has been interested in. we got an award from the congressional management foundation last year for our employee manuals. but, our office has had 16 weeks maternal, fraternal or some combination therefore, adoption, foster care, anything. we asked in office have been doing this for years. we hope everyone else was advocating also has the exact same thing in their office manual and has had it for years
just to show a level of intellectual consistency in our belief systems. i yield back. >> thank you. i recognize a gentle lady from california to inquire thank you. miss group to come i think you for being here today. before i represent the california district in congress that i now serve, i served in the california state assembly. during my time is an assembly member and proud to say i was actually there to vote for passage of our nations first paid family leave bill in 2002. it was such a huge victory for families everywhere. our california policy allows employees to receive up to six weeks up to 60 or 70% of their pay to care for his fiercely ill child, parent, parents-in-law, grandchild, sibling, spouse or registered domestic partner, or
to bond with the new child entering the family through birth, adoption, or foster care placement. i remember the debates of the time. i remember how many would say it is catastrophic and there would be so much harm it would cost too much, it will cost small businesses too much. but what i saw was that families in california finally had peace of mind. what we have a source california is now 15 years of experience to go on. now, we have six states that have implemented paid family leave and now we are contemplating having a national paid family leave program that over 84% of americans support. so ms. koop took, i want to have us look back on this experience
that we've had with california. i know in your testimony you talk about the longitudinal studies on california and in particular you talk about the health benefits that have resulted to families because of the paid family leave program. can you expand upon that? >> certainly. thank you. first of all i thank you for your leadership both in california and in congress as well on this issue. my experience from paid family leave and i should just say, i did not find it a difficult program to access. there was no burdensome application and i was able to access it easily and take advantage of the program. california's program has been incredibly successful and has expanded multiple times. the studies out there, the longitudinal studies show it has led to positive health outcomes from elementary school children
in qualitative data has showed that it has allowed low-wage workers to take the necessary time to bond, care, and heal. additional data has shown that for low-wage mothers for example it has allowed them to have the time necessary to be able to find adequate, affordable quality childcare. ants come aside from what i have set about increased labor force participation rates and increase wages, we have seen it has led to an 11% relative decline among the ellard elderly having additional savings for families and for the economy as a whole and the states cost as well. so, it is a program that has been successful. i think also california continues to learn from its lessons to innovate, and expand
his program. it recognized early on that it's wage replacement rate wasn't high enough and has gone back and has made changes to improve to ensure that lower wage workers can get a higher percentage of their wages when they take this critical leave. it is a real model and other states are following it for innovation and continued learning. again, 10.5 million people benefit. >> cans, can you expand on why a national paid family leave program is more beneficial to the economy especially with regard to those who might have to rely on public assistance programs such as food stamps are weak. >> yes, thank you. again, as i have said, there is an urgent and growing demand for paid family medical leave with an increase of low-wage economy, we have so many low-wage workers
who have no access to paid family medical leave. so, a national program will ensure that all workers, regardless of where they live, who they work for, have access to a quality program that is universal, inclusive, and will ensure they have the time they need to heal and to care without losing much needed income and be able to have the economic security they need to thrive and keep moving forward. >> thank you. >> i think they gentle lady. i recognize a gentle lady from wisconsin, ms. miss moore. >> thank you so much mr. chairman. i think all of the witnesses. this has been an interesting and important hearing. i'm sure i won't have enough time to ask all of the questions i would love to ask. i just want to start out by giving all the women on the panel a happy mother's day
early. because this really is hard work. i know it's one of the major reasons why people need some family medical leave. honestly, your testimony about having six kids, that's hard to believe. you just don't look like somebody with six kids, you look great. let me ask you, kids can wear you out. i want to talk about your notion that the family and medical leave policy would crowd out other employers who would offer this if the government were not to participate in this program, people like what mr. sand says describe. his inability to keep top-notch employees because he did not have the capacity to do that.
what evidence are you bringing to this committee to show evidence that there be some crowding out? >> yes. paid family leave. in the senate there is someone from deloitte test to find what they states where they have employees make their all over the world. ask them. through a big employer. >> so, they have their employees first file to get the state based program. they still see provide some benefit that they've shifted apportionment the state provided program. >> thank you. one of my colleagues said that the tax cut jobs act provided so much money that we have seen an increase in wages, an increase in family leave benefits, and if were soon going to see that. i guess ms. koop to, can you share with us, know we have seen need hundred $3 billion in stock
buybacks. i'm wondering what evidence do you have that this has resulted in increased benefits for family? >> as i mentioned before, there continues to be tremendous need for paid family medical leave, especially for the lowest wage workers and their families. we know right now 43.5 million workers provide unpaid care and most of them have full-time jobs. we know the 5.5 million workers are providing care to wounded vets and service members. the need is tremendous. just providing tax cuts or other incentives to businesses is just not enough. >> let me ask you this. i thought i heard -- maybe it was ms. miss levine say that a couple coffee per week. that might be hard to give up. that it would cost families to
provide their part of the benefit. i know that one cup of coffee a week is a bit much. i need to but what i'm saying is, how does that one cup of coffee per week compared to the benefits they receive? because you know our guest years says she is used it six times she looks like she's going to use it again, she's going to be around. >> share with us how that contribution and what impact it would have on low-income families? >> absolutely. i appreciate the opportunity. as someone with the engineer degree a been pummeled by the math. when you calculate a couple coffee for an individual a week, that's $2.44 is what an average individual in washington state will contribute. that's $5000 over the course of a 40 year career. the math works out well as
compared to what that individual gets. if they're making $900 a week they would get as the benefit 90% of that from a wage replacement standpoint. $747 they would get to care for their family members in themselves from introducing new family member. the key thing is not what would we would pay but what we would lose. they would lose that paycheck and access. >> just reclaiming my time. we heard about three, three, three, three gdp went to the top 1%. we have lower workforce participation especially among women who don't have these flexible policies. 3.2% wage growth, will thank god, because we lost 6.4% wage growth during the great recession. i yield back. >> i think the general lady. swing thank you mr. chairman.
as the lead republican on the workroom family support subcommittee, i do believe that's it's important for parents to have the ability to stay home after a child is born or adopted. i think we have to make sure that parents and her workforce can balance the competing demands of work and raising their families. i am grateful where having this hearing because i think we can do this. i think it can be bipartisan and i think we can get together and do something productive for the american people which is what they want. i am all in on being a part of shaping this and looking for solutions. i do support policies that help all working parents can succeed and thrive at home as we have seen both sides agree on the important of paid family leave, it works. it has been shown to reduce preventable deaths of new mothers and babies and makes community stronger. obviously what were disagreeing about is the concept of what
does this look like and how do we pay for. the idea of a new one size fits all program we have seen over and over with big government programs they seldom live up to their lofty promises and don't help everyone. in fact they held high end up hurting those that they should help. it will have a disproportionate income i don't think government mandates are the way to go forward. we should be working forward toward shared goals of expanding access to paid family leave. so let me just start by asking you, according to the center on budget and policy priorities, payroll taxes are regressive. low and moderate income taxpayers pay more in payroll tax and high income people on average. would you say the family acts would institute a regressive tax on low-income individuals to
subsidize high income earners? >> the tax under the family act is the same as the social security act. that's progressive. what i fear from this is were trying to help low income or earners but we would don't want to do that in a way that makes low income earners pay for upper income earners to take paid the. >> won't talk about tax cuts and jobs act the one thing that i saw an was grateful for mr. kelly for bringing up this issue, when we worked on this issue of tax reform, keeping families in mind and the bond between employer and employee right tab up in front, we looked at the concept of universal savings account. and i'm sitting here for the first two hours literally thinking, this is such a great starting. what we were talking about and what we could honestly do was take that as a starting. a universal savings account that any employee can put in a bank,
take it out for whatever reason, not even having to give a reason just withdraw that money when i need it. i think i'm a big federal plans take all the individual a lot of it away and you do get trapped in the 30 day plan, having somebody go through the rules and rags set up. i'd rather be in charge of the future and have direct control over their own decisions and take care the times and they actually mean to pull that money from an account. i'm also interested in -- i'm all about modeling and i love to hear the plan that you have in washington, but it doesn't even start until january of next year, correct? it's still a model waiting for the start up? >> we have to build up the collections. room premium collection mode. our data with the employer started last week on april 30
thing going quite well. we will be able start paying out benefits january 1 of 2020. >> but to have that aggregate data and say here's what washington did you really can't get that until the end of next year. >> were building in heart monitors to track that closely which does require investing in the system that allow you to track that. and to invest in outreach so we can increase awareness among employers and workers so people know to utilize. >> and i want your plan to work. but it's really january 1 of next year. >> correct. >> and then quickly, the concept of small business being able to pool and do something like that, can you add any until not? >> you would be a great way to expand what we have done with association health plans and small employers to pool together. i can see it working well
through short-term disability policy. it was certainly increase access. >> i yield back. >> thank you. i recognize the gentleman from michigan to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for holding the hearing into the witnesses for providing really important information. before i begin i want to note, my colleague who is not currently -- but mentioning that he help many of us here who are advocating for this initiative are intellectually honest enough to employ the same practices in our office. i just want to make it clear that we do. i have in my own office manual family leave, medical leave policy that mirrors the legislation that many of us are promoting. and i tell you why do it. because it's really good for the operation of my office.
i've had staff people who have been able to utilize it in circumstances that allowed me, person who depends on the highly productive and really smart people i higher to be able to be sure they can manage their family responsibilities and i can still have access to the expertise they bring to me and the experience they bring. i have that policy but i do so mainly out of the interest of my office. to make sure we can continue to do the good work we do. like many families come in my own family my wife has a situation that requires her to occasionally have to be away from work. a medical condition that her employer has been willing to accommodate and i'll tell you why they do it. because they don't want to lose her. so i guess one of the first questions, some of this might be
redundant. so i ask any panelist to comment. it gets a little frustrating when i hear some characterization of this that would imply that somehow if we don't have paid family leave, the circumstances that require it will just not occur. things happen. so, absent paid family leave let me start with you, what happens? what happens? does a person just not have a sick family member all of a sudden because they don't have paid family leave? and what happens in the employment situation. >> it would be lovely if this problem would go away in the absence of a policy, we know that is not reality. i think lucky ones like me are able to cobble things together. it was at a huge psychological cost. but worthwhile to me certainly because my family was not in a
position to walk away from a paycheck. i don't know many families who could just walk away from a paycheck. i certainly will say that my employer one my loyalty by leaning in and making things work for me. i stayed for another five years and in turn was able to make things work for some of my own employees. from the employer perspective, we have heard several times today about how expensive and resources intensive it is to replace a staff person. i think for them it felt like it was worthwhile to make things work so they are able to retain me as an employee rather than looking to replace me. my hope certainly was that it was a win-win situation. i can tell you given the choice between letting my parents think without support and looking at my family sinking into debt, it's an impossible choice. i have no idea what i would have
done and i hope nobody has to make that choice again. we know families are having to make that choice every day. >> they are making that and the difficulty with this discussion. i know there's a tendency to want to assign a dollar value, there is a tendency in this town anyway to assign a dollar value and essentially monetize every human experience we have. the idea that families would have to make the choice in order to take care of their own prerelease to meet their responsibilities, to make a choice to not be there when a parent or another loved one is dealing with the most difficult time and may be a time that could never be recovered. those moments toward the end of life. the idea that we have to figure out a way to put a dollar value on that is so offensive to me, i
think as a society were better than that and it's okay to pursue policy that says that's a value we should protect. i wonder if any of you would comment on the. >> years points on who we are as a society is a really important one. at the same time, i understand businesses and individuals are thinking about -- of their lives woke we have put together on scale and a national basis is something that blends all of what you're saying. it cares for individuals in a holistic way and makes it affordable for employers and employees to participate and know they don't have to make that decision. >> thank you. i yield back. >> let me recognize the gentleman from virginia to inquire. >> first i think all of you for almost three hours of testimony. it has been interesting and very
balanced. i do want to.out my friend just left from indiana, she said in the last five minutes quote big federal programs several sell them live up to this end social security has lifted tens of millions of senior citizens out of poverty. medicare medicaid provided health care to hundreds of americans on the defense department just get saved for the last several years. >> i would like to push back a little bit, she talked about universal savings accounts as a panacea. i just checked the national average savings account rate you is .08%, but put that in context, i keep a $300 savings account to my credit union just to keep the relationship going. every month is fun to collect
the 3 cents in interest. in my family business we have paid paternity leave. we don't have paid paternity leave because it's a largely male workforce and they make a lot of babies, they are young men. i guess if i did the math they would be good for us because we would be able to do paid paternity leave at a rate we could afford. this would be terrific stuff and faster, you been in business very long and successful career, should we include bereavement in this? is it included in the washington state proposal? to deal with the loss of a child as well as the birth of a child. >> brinkman is not currently included. but certainly individuals are able to take the time before as an ailing parents or family member may be declining and you can take the leave to care for that individual in advance.
>> congressman snyder and i and a few others have a notion of adding bereavement to the unpaid family medical leave right now which i hope will pass. i've never lost a child but i can imagine not being able to get out of bed for six weeks. women's participation in the workforce is a major thing that were dealing and is the lowest it has been in the long time. and faster, do you have any impact on the impact it could have on women's participation in the workforce? >> it will increase it and what has been fantastic is it's not a women's program. it's in everyone's program. i feel like were comparing apples to kumquats when we look overseas and wonder how has that contributed were not contributed to women's engagement in the employment sector. were talking about something for everyone and not just women to engage. as a woman leader it has been most impactful to mike grier
when my husband been able to take care of my kids and family. what we are building in washington state and what were talking about something that would allow woman to rise up as leaders and participate because there spouses will be able to participate in the care of themselves, their family members, and other loved ones. >> to continue on with what congressman talked about. in my congressional district it has expanded and exploded in your state for what has given rise is the big explosion. we have all of these two and trooper, lift et cetera. these uber drivers were just doing one thing but have no employer, will they be covered by this? >> will look at the individual employment contracts on a case-by-case and the relationship they have with the individuals working for them.
>> that seems to be the fastest growing part of the economy. >> we also accommodate independent contractors within the program. we look at it on a case-by-case basis for each of the different employers. while will be able to do is offer this to everyone whether an independent contractor, self-employed work for small business or large business, everyone in washington state will have access to this benefit. >> new york's program to allow this self-employed top ten. >> you've heard a number of really thoughtful critiques of the program. when he pointed out tamika henry waited six years for her husbands disability insurance benefits. we deal with it all the time and it's frustrating. isn't this largely by the fact that we have starved the social security administration of his staff your year? that they can't approve because
there's nobody there to do that? >> there is a way to long, it also has to do with the process and individuals have to wait five months to apply and then most of them apply through three different levels getting in on appeal. it's a lengthy process. they have to hire an attorney to help them go through that. that cost them more money. it has more to do with the rules program. >> with that will recognize the gentleman from kansas to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you witnesses for joining today. as we have heard a lot today. we believe we need to expand access to paid family leave. it's a good thing and that's the reason why the tax cut in jobs act enacted the first ever national paid the policy by incentivizing companies to offer 12 weeks of paid leave through the tax credit. it could be as much as 25%. this policy was a good win-win,
allowing flexibility in benefits while making it easier for small businesses to give that paid leave. it also doubled the child tax credit which help families and work to develop the secure act which allowed people to withdraw money from their retirement accounts without penalty will pay for expenses related to birth or adoption of a child. so, clearly there has been a lot of gains over the last few years helping families. we know there is more to do. as a dad of three, i'm glad we're looking at different options of how to expand paid family leave. but also as a former kansas state treasurer, i'm concerned about the cost to the treasury and being with taxpayer dollars. the truth is, the one-size-fits-all mandate doesn't always fit, cover the needs, it's not flexible, ultimately it leads to higher
taxes and benefits and reduce benefits for the middle class family. so, just as an example the family asked that my colleagues have proposed will cost more than $200 billion in 2017 which would require 3% payroll tax increase. that's a lot of money taken out of the economy and out of peoples paychecks. for ten years a mandatory family leave program like the family act would cost over a trillion dollars in force workers to contribute over $58000 over their career. i know from kansas standpoint that's more than what the average family makes in a year. we want to make sure we make it affordable, that were able to give options and people can utilize and be beneficial for them. my preferences let's make sure we don't have a government mandate program but lots of options and tools that allow people to pick and choose what the choices are. . . .
>> you talked about proposals around social security and the impact. can you talk more based on the solvency projections with those proposals would do to that quick. >> as decide right now they would shorten the days social security becomes insolvent so those tax increases would have to kick in sooner but it would
not stay as envisioned it would just grow over time social security and medicare as those entitled programs have so that there will be significant benefit cuts coming sooner than we thought or tax increases. >> when you spoke what stuck out was we view social security as the insurance survivors benefit but the true crux of the program although we have added other things like disability benefits are positive but we don't want to lose the retirement capability that we had in that. >> and a 2018 survey done by cato that said having more affordable childcare and more flexible work schedules are top priorities of parents.
do you believe it gives that level of flexibility to give families and impair on - - parents the benefits they want quick. >> it will take away the flexibility so we see that it is the fourth most important thing for workers in that childcare are much bigger issues so they are trying to tackle things in the order of priority not doing things to actually take away flexibility in particular that women would like to have. >> i yelled back. >> the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you. thank you for the meeting of this committee meeting. we are dealing with a serious
level of income inequality in our country we have seen those who have benefits to opportunities while the nation's poor struggle daily to make ends meet. this system is nearly impossible to escape women and families of color that are impacted with this income inequality you stated people should not have to win the bosses lottery or move to one of those jurisdictions to have a piece of mind i am a firm believer your zip code should not dictate your quality of your life. so please explain how a strong national paid leave program would help some of these disparities we are seeing regarding income inequality
for all working families regardless of their background. >> yes. as you mentioned income inequality is why we are concerned as the anti- poverty organization so we struggle with family medical leave program all workers have access to a program to help them stay in the workforce. as i mentioned one out of seven workers have lost a job due to unpaid leave. job loss is a common entry point to poverty. so when people fall into poverty it impacts their health and well-being in their children and families. 40million people are living in poverty today. having access to paid family
medical leave that they are able to provide for their family but also take the necessary leave without having to sacrifice a paycheck. that his groceries, medication for their child. nobody should have to make that impossible choice. we feel it will help improve retention to the workforce which of course would help them support their families and improve economic security and i do know there has been a lot of discussion around the cost of payroll taxes and that funding mechanism quickly want to say payroll taxes are used in all six states and the
district of columbia it is a tried-and-true mechanism it has not caused any significant hardships to any workers it is a shared cost by employers and employees in the benefit that is spread and continues to support workers to make sure they can actually access paid family medical leave and it supports by improving retention and productivity seven out of ten of those are willing to contribute one cent per year of every dollar they earn to contribute to a national paid family medical leave program it is needed in addition to that low-wage workers need paid family medical leave now. >> in your testimony discuss the balance and care for your children to carol - - care for
your old parents so how do you manage also with the benefit of you and your family during these times i cobbled together everything that was available. vacation, sick days, flexible work hours, the ability to work remotely and i could pull all those together and the psychological toll to figure that out in the meantime on top of taking care of their needs and the needs of my children it was already on top of a mountain of stressful circumstances of i could take advantage of the paid leave policy i could step from work for short periods of tim time, plan that with my
employer once we got through the initial crisis to make sure the lid was on at work and then just focus on the needs of my family until i was at a place to focus on work again and then come back to be a productive employee spent the gentleman from illinois. >> thank you mister chairman also to the ranking member and the witnesses for sharing your stories and perspectives with us today. talking about the personal story of your child in the nicu and my great-nephew will be to this month born three months early i remember seeing many said nephew day in and day out in the hospital room praying for him and it is a situation with your parents while raising the child it is
a burden but from the employer perspective i have been in that situation to know you have an employee you cannot do anything for them and the impact on the business. and thank you for your perspective seven months from now washington is headed down a path using as a model for the rest of the nation so my question for the panel is if paid family medical leave is the main policy, moral policy giving pants on - - parents a chance to beat their newborns or with parents and final days , maybe the debate is why is it a smart policy? so the impact it has on
busines business. >> for me it is a net positive and always. the only negative is the small payroll tax but to me that is something that i feel. that we don't feel that as a business owner or as employees but the net positive is i retain employees that are skilled with greater productivity and lowers my training cost makes me a much more efficient business. as a small business, that is a bigger portion of my cost and it's much more important to me. >> so talking about the cost of the business but there is a cost to businesses with the uncertainty to lose a key employee. my question is are we talking
about concentrating cost around the event if it's a child or illness? are there others things we are missing? there is a way for this to be good including the pocket that is good for individual employees and employers. and to amortize the cost to pay for one of those events over a period of time that 244 per week i might pay making $50000 per year in three years from now if i have something devastating i break my leg got for bitter my mom gets sick again, sorry mo mom, i can then have my 900-dollar a week salary i am not so devastated i have to leave my job and i can have $727 per week in my
pocket. when you do this at scale you can emma tries across individuals and multiple businesses so you lower the cost overall to administer this for small and medium-sized businesses even large businesses so everybody can offer to all workers and look at low-wage workers in particular you make it affordable for those employees who today cannot afford to take it if it is not generous enough. >> but my concern is a burden on small business already pushed to the edge watching every penny from the washington state perspective what you say those businesses that have ten employees. >> what they say is this is finally putting the accessibility for them they can take advantage of a benefit they wanted to offer
to compete in the marketplace now because it is a lower cost to them for 1 million-dollar payroll they now have $1500 they pay for an extraordinary benefit to employees is not a question if you can to do it or afford not to. >> and it smart policy and with that i yelled back - - yield back. >> votes are scheduled at 1:30 p.m. the gentleman from north carolina. >> mister chairman thank you for holding this hearing. it feels me good we'll have a productive congress and to have bipartisan support that we all believe it is important for the american people i'm glad we had this hearing to
highlight is not getting enough attention that the passage of the tax cuts and jobs act was established for the first time in the history of policy for paid family medical leave. that tax credit incentivizes employers to provide paid leave to employees thus encouraging flexible and customized solutions as opposed to a one-size-fits-all federal mandate. the tax cuts and jobs ask for working families to double the child tax credit to increase the standard deduction allowing these families to keep more of their hard earned money to invest in their family's needs. as we saw last week the economy is thriving. at a 49 year low and they see the fastest wage growth in a
decade which is great news for working families. as i alluded to to strongly support paid family medical leave however i want to assure workers continue to have that flexibility and their choices are not hamstrung by a washington created mandate. washington government does do some things well. my friend from virginia has mentioned but some things the government does not do well. i have a suspicion this is a program the government would not do well. nearly half of employees receive paid leave through short-term disability plans the most common is maternity leave so how do we grow this segment to include more
employers? don't you think it would be easier to expand what we have now then replace what is already working in the private sector? expand on that please. >> there is a couple different ways we can help to encourage that growth like payroll tax credits against what the employers are paying the other is a minor tweak requiring to congress to specify like the 401(k) to allow employers to automatically enroll into a short term policy. it seems from what we have heard from employers they are hesitant because they are worried it could be a legal liability to automatically enroll they can opt out but when they are automatically enrolled they are more apt to keep the policy. this is what we can do with
that structure for disability insurance program to increase that way. >> private insurers with the paid and unpaid leave programs they have the capital, expertise and administrative infrastructure already in place so why would you want to create a new federal bureaucracy when private industry has already played an integral role? but that is a good point the most efficient way to run any policy is between the employer and employee is clear the awareness is there through the ministration that the best way to run the policy. so we look at already 50 percent of private sector workers having access to the short-term disability policies so now the providers are saying they're working to have a specific benefit that is into a policy that does not
require any new program so that is a cost-effective way to do this. >> thank you for your insight. i yield back spent the gentleman from new york to make thank you for trying to promote bipartisan legislation they want us to do things together as a group and we are making a lot of strides to do things in a bipartisan fashion so we want to encourage that i want to thank all the witnesses we are so grateful you haven't had a break thank you for the time you have put in today for your preparation and your stories resonate with me certainly talking about the sandwich generation i grew up in a house for all four grandparents lived and three of them are very sick my dad was 95 my mom is 93 we were very fortunate they had long
term health care insurance a challenge that we face right now and to manage young children also so everything you talk about i understand what all of you talk about it all resonates very well. also with you having six children that is a remarkable story for quite can only imagine what you would have done if they said you could not have paid family medical leave. would you have quit quick. >> that is an interesting question i don't know if that would cause me to quit but that flexibility not just taking the tama - - time off is to have a normal monday through friday 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. schedule that has allowed me to stay in the labor force. >> i can understand why your employer's maybe they are nice people and they want to do it
maybe you are a valued employee to keep you but not everybody is in that situation and our country faces a very big challenge we have seen the stock market go up by 1200 percent and the gdp go up by 600 percent for girl. and the workers wages are not going up but companies generally see their main job is to take care of their shareholders and the bottom line. employees have been left behind this is just another issue if we can rely on the goodwill of companies and people that are in this together, we have to work together maybe they would go out of their way to say everybody here knows how emotional these situations are maybe they would do this if they had that mindset but that has changed over the past 20 or 30 years and now it's just
about the bottom line as wages are not going up and then an issue like this is something that everybody wants to do. a company can do this they understand even when trying to value for their shareholders that's why they do this as a policy. but some smaller employees and companies haven't figured that out yet. that's where the role of government on the democratic side thinks the government has a role to smooth out these rough edges with a wonderful system of capitalism that we face challenges right now the summer left behind because of these personal circumstances where they can't get a break to take care of their kids to go through the grieving process they need a break and we have to do something that everybody in the country is protected not just super
successful people with employers that are nice people. >> i share that concern that is what we are worried about is lower income people i have been fortunate i work for people but a lot of people don't that more than having that paid family medical leave is that low income worker working for a small employer and now are forced to pay higher taxes if they lose their job then it's not worth it a job loss can put somebody into poverty or make them homeless so i would really like to target best to the low income people that need it. >> i'm certain the talented people can address this problem we are hoping that you
and all colleagues can work together to try to solve this problem it is a very real problem in real people's lives you have been very persuasive today to highlight how this is a real problem we must face and do something under the leadership of our chairman we hope to figure this out some of the gentleman from california. >> i appreciate this opportunity also thank you to the witnesses for your time and your preparation even though you are experts i guarantee you all prepared for today. representing the central coast of california and with the paid family medical leave law there would love to implement those expectations in my office we did it last year where one long time employee had her second child and we gave her six weeks paid family
leave then we gave her flexibility in her hours to go home to provide certain care to the child when necessary and we are proud of that we see how that benefits not just her but us, not just in the short-term but long-term with her children and as long term as well because we have developed loyalty as some of you mentioned in regards to the employee and we are lucky to have her. that's the least we can do. but on that no obviously you know california was the first state to enact comprehensive paid family medical leave but we have learned some things along the way you have mentioned a couple of improvements but can you elaborate as to what we learned in california along the way?
what mistakes were made and how we learned from them and how we made it better. >> thank you for that question. california has been a tremendous leader in learning from what it did wrong and where it can improve to ensure there is greater access for low-wage workers in particular where it has made improvement is increasing the wage replacement rate that was 55 percent of a worker's average weekly wage and they realize they were unable to benefit from such a low rate so now they have increased it to about 70 percent of low-wage workers that should help many more to access and participate in the program. starting 2021 paid family
medical leave can be used for military family need there is need for military caregiving and eliminates the seven day waiting period which is a hardship for many low income families to get the benefit sooner and then lose a week of pay. another piece is the improvement of outreach and education. that is so critical workers need to know especially if they pay into a benefit they should have access and that they have this benefit. so education and outreach is a critical component of california's updates to its program and a big lesson for other states as they recognize they don't have a robust outreach and education program for workers and employers that
benefit from the program and yesterday the governor announced plans to increase the duration of lee from six weeks at eight weeks so now california has been a real leader providing great lessons for other states and the national program. >> now moving to the employer can you describe how small businesses in california have become more competitive with larger employers? >> as i said before most small businesses cannot afford to pay for the full cost of leave but to contribute a small amount helps so much more and allows them to compete and retain talent so they can
compete with big businesses like google and apple and ensure that it improves staff morale and greater productivity. the data we haven't heard that small businesses are struggling and to be allowed to remain competitive in the california economy. >> i yield back. >> the gentleman from georgia. >> thank you for your time and stories today. we appreciate it. this is a wonderful opportunity for something i have lived through i was a dennis 25 years working predominantly staff with that time i think i had 14 babies born into my practice under staff members and multiple times we had employees with
sick parents. i had a practice of about five people with five full-time employees so when somebody would go out on maternity leave, it was a real impact so we had to learn how to be creative how we address the employees needs and the needs of the staff to meet the needs of my patients. one of the concerns that i have each of those children were different each experience was different dealing with a sick parent. i would like to have as an employer the flexibility to set up parameters based on the need needs. i worry about the one-size-fits-all policy and
that would limit my ability to meet the needs of my team members. so when i think about this i think different types of options and solutions because the question is not whether or not we should be doing this i think we agree this is an important part of being a good employer and is something to make sure you are a happy employee. what if there is something different out there that i say is a business proactively , what if i could have put a certain amount of my profit into an account to be used and then use those funds to go out and buy the right policy for my size business for the makeup of my employee base?
talk about the importance of flexibility for small businesses on this. >> we all agree the cost for somebody is them taking believe themselves we cannot pretend the cost is free for the employer it isn't free for the taxpayers but there is an impact unless they have no value it will be felt by coworkers in the employer who has to find somebody else to fill the position or come up with a way to cover them being gone so we have to take that into account looking at other alternative ways employers can address this other than setting up a formalized policy for the paid time off disability insurance policies a friend has sick leave pools when somebody goes out they can donate their time we can
allow employers to have that flexibility and not say this one program is the only one available. >> thank you for that. with the makeup of my workforce over the years my needs would've been a lot different then he worked as a male dominated workforce. so as that relates to maternity leave those dynamics i just want the flexibility to do what is right for my employees i think each of you for your time here today and i yield back the gentle lady from florida. >> thank you to the witnesses for your testimony today i am excited we had this hearing because paid family medical leave is such an important issue we get to have
jurisdiction over. frankly it is an embarrassment the richest country in the world the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee any access to paid family medical leave and i have heard a lot of colleagues wonder why the federal government should be involved in this at all. i think the federal government needs to be involved because at some point we will have to take time away from work because of a life event it could be unexpected illness or a family member or even from starting a family and i don't think this is an issue left for each state to decide one by one or be a luxury only the largest companies can afford to provide. this rings true to me as a mother with young kids i remember a time i was a new mom with a growing family in the middle of a job search pursuing an exciting job opportunity and unfortunately
when i asked their leave policy was i was shocked to learn they only provided the basic standard of 12 weeks unpaid in my home state of florida doesn't have the paid the program, this is all i could have in my constituents today can rely on. even though the job was great on so many levels but i couldn't work for a place that could not be me with their paycheck for three months but i know that i was more fortunate than most i had a job, healthy son and a husband that worked i did not have to accept that offer but there are a lot of working families that are not so lucky. they don't have a choice some have to take any job to keep the food on the table or the bills paid or choose between the job and taking care of a family member or newborn we
should not be forcing her constituents to make these choices or visit the zip code lottery or be lucky enough to work for a company to provide these benefits for go i think businesses want to provide more for their employees right now only 17 percent are covered by the employer program they know what's good for business for worker retention but most cannot afford it on their own especially small business. having a natural one - - national program levels the playing field to use these benefits to attract talent this is why we need a comprehensive national program to provide workers across the country of all sizes to close the gender pay gap in minority pay gap paid family medical leave is a process that helps working families and small businesses with the overall economy so you spoke how
having the state program specifically with your employees could you pay paid leave if new jersey did not have its own program quick. >> no way. >> what would you do otherwise quick. >> an employee who left for maternal leave would cost $7200 and i could not do that. no way i could do that even though i lost productivity at that time it would be impossible. that's why i am on board here today because i know that as a small business owner with five employees that is something i can handle and have a small deduction from payroll every two weeks and is not a problem we've been going that way for
ten years it has worked well my business is thriving in my employees are happy and it is something we as americans across the country should have equal rights if you live in the wrong zip code you don't have equal rights this should be a basic human right we all have frailties as human beings and we all get sick. >> if it cost only 200 to keep them but also took you money to onboard somebody new. >> yes. the very moment i have a person gone now i need more money to pay out for the person that is gone. so the next year they give me 25 percent of that back in a tax credit? that's not something i can do as a small business owner. >> the gentle man from california. >> mister chairman thank you
for calling today's hearing i want to tell you a story about two parents that i know. like many they work multiple jobs four or five jobs a week to make ends meet laundered other people's close at nights carmelo came here and became a line cook at a local restaurant years after one day their seven -year-old son fell ill with pneumonia for some americans it is not a life-changing event especially with a good insurance and empathetic employer but this is not the case immigrants from mexico who had to providing care for their sick kid and as they gathered in the hospital to make sure someone was always there to be with their son they always think how will this impact her family. can we maintain both jobs?
can we recover it cost them everything even the home they worked so hard to earn i'm happy to report their son did pull through but the stress and trauma that event that feeling of hopelessness and certainty against instability stayed with them for years after and i know this because they were my parents and i was that little boy who got pneumonia when he was seven my story is not uniqu unique. too many families in this country live their lives on a tight rope one car accident one illness one death away from a financial bankruptcy and we want to make sure those families are always kept in line with any program. now thank you for your story
we have to remind people this is about people and their kids if you had lost your job what would be the impact? >> thank you for sharing your story with us. like many working families balancing the high cost of living with kids activities and now suddenly subtract one paycheck would have meant very quickly falling behind on a lot of those things not just like soccer practice but defaulting on student loans and i don't know what it would have taken for us to recover from that if i were suddenly without that chil child. >> your story is something
that is repeated, my family story one of the things that i did as a state assembly member in california i increased the wage replacement because after ten years in california we learned one thing that people can't afford to take advantage of the program or if they are making ends meet on 100 percent of their salary why do they think they could take off five or six or ten weeks at 55 percent? they can't. so many of these that we are discussing and negotiating a mistake these families into account that are struggling because those are the ones often times. the other component is to make sure that people know about it that's one of the things we
have learned in california and they don't know about the program paid family medical leave is something that everybody will use some day whether they have it or not. what would you say is the number one or number two issue to look out for in a paid family medical leave program quick. >> ensuring access is the most critical piece so wage replacement rate is low enough so low-wage workers can actually access the program i'm sorry high enough wage replacement rate now states are looking at 90 percent for the lowest wage workers and that is critical job protection i know that is outside the purview of this committee that workers cannot afford to lose a job if they take the necessary time and then access to education.
>> i yelled back. >> the gentle man from texas. >> if we don't finish then i will come back. >> the chairman is very generous with time. >> thank you for hosting and with the dialogue and thank you for your time the consensus is i hope you can appreciate this we are all for family leave benefits and access to those benefits but how do we most effectively and responsibly and most sustainably or from sustainability because we have the irony of those proposals to add a program of social security trust fund we have
even paid for those entitlement programs not only that had a top-down mandate where we expanded the entitlement with obama care. the cost of premiums went to an average of $2,826,000. it is a huge cost. you made the comment adding numbers to lives will ask 50 percent of americans if they had a crisis it would cost $500 they could not pay it. they would be up a creek so dealing with that reality we don't deal with reality in washington.
there are lots of things we like to do we have to ask ourselves can we afford them? will be borrow more or defer more taxes? i will take the sandwich generation. your children and grandchildren will be sandwiched between two sour pieces of bread and a bad economy if we keep doing what we are doing in such an irresponsible way. i know this is your fault of the california balance sheet for talk about the family leave program and the full story to a california has done is best viewed by the benefits in the private pension program
, i will not hold you to this but how do we pay for that? is there a plan you can articulate quick. >> i cannot speak to that. >> don't think anybody can speak to that of course you can't effectively california wants to run their business i respect my colleague who says california is the way the country will go i don't think it's always the bright shining example. it is the harbinger if we don't manage our business responsibly. since 2007 california has lost 1 million people to other states net. they have migrated away one third have come to the great state of texas. i am all for states deciding how to provide benefits to their workers. that laboratory invention is a
great system and how to make it work best and they can design things better than the federal government and we have to provide incentives to employers but you said you didn't have to do this but you did and you did it because it was good for your business. right? with the business paid family medical leave. >> but you did it voluntarily. you added that their lawn - - voluntarily. >> it was a payroll deduction all my employees have a payroll deduction. >> is in the best interest of your company to offer that
with a replacement cost, retention quick. >> all of those reasons but we are all in agreement. >> but if you like your state plan keep it if you like your employer-based program keep it we should just do more to incentivize that behavior from the bottom up and not the top-down. >> thank you very much mister chairman all due respect my colleague from texas social security is not an entitlement it is a trust fund that has been earned by those who have been paying into it and any comparison is not accurate. so to talk about the family act asking businesses to
contribute to pennies for every ten dollars earned in wages. or two dollars a week. that is what we are asking from a small business owner myself to address a balance sheet to balance the interest of the employees people will produce and provide services to do well is part of the social construct we have had in this country they are hoping to address we have enormous income inequality in this country people can't even make it today with a paycheck let alone if there is an illness for themselves, family
member or loved one they have to take care of. we need to focus on what this is about which is people according to the national partnership for women and family unpaid leave and accessible for 63 percent of working people they cannot afford to take off work that is why we need the family act for constituent of mine from las vegas a 35 -year-old single mother who reached out to share her experience without paid leave in 2015 at means there were no benefits. to have life-threatening
complications with her pregnancy. with the neonatal intensive care unit for the first two months of his life and was born with a hole in his heart a nerve disorder and severely clubbed feet per after two long months she could return to work starting a new full-time work with some stability and benefits. while she found herself in those - - it offered her in her new babies security is still came without any paid time off. physical therapy appointments meant to take time off of work to miss out on vital income
that she desperately needed to keep food on the table my life felt like an endless roller coaster of stress and anxiety that it was always faced with the most difficult choices how do we choose do i lose a day pay and hope the supervisor understand or miss a doctor's appointment my son needs to grow healthy and thrive cracks that's no choice for any parent to have to make. what are the positive impacts paid family medical leave legislation? >> exactly as you said to increase access to low income workers to make sure they can stay employed to make sure they have the economic security provide for families and ensure the health and well-being of their family and
level the playing field for small businesses so all of that not only improves the wealth but the overall economy. >> what is the continued cost of families and businesses if we do not act quick. >> it comes down to the impossible choice we talk about that we continue to put people in this situation between the health and family members or they will be paying the bills. >> i know we have votes i appreciate that so quickly there is broad agreement paid leave benefits is something republicans don't intend to support but how to pay for and how to do it cracks if we do
this with a payroll tax administered by the government i know there are estimates out there that is woefully inadequate who was left holding the bag to make up for those benefits that is created under this law if that doesn't cover the expenditure quick. >> unfortunately for those that will just put more into their backpacks i don't want this program to care for them future taxpayers as well as present taxpayers that is not the taxpayers money so if we bet wrong there is huge exposure so if you could purchase through your business it could be cheaper than the
two cents maybe it is a penny and we pursue that then who was left holding the bag with that calculation cracks is that the taxpayer or the company quick. >> a privately purchased policy then it is a private company. >> am interested to find a solution but i'm very sensitive to go down the path because are you aware my colleagues are proposing to point plus this is a payroll tax on top of that i is anyone aware of that? this is an additional payroll tax proposed by the other side and that is troublesome to me as the ranking member on social security to pursue. >> thank you for your testimony please be advised to have two weeks to submit your written questions that is part of the record we are adjourned.
grappling with my identity ui was in the world and who i chose to be i felt pretty certain the mainstream culture was never going to be a place to take my identity and graphic tort on - - gravitate towards culture the first place my favorite book was an autobiography of malcolm x the power of the ideas in the revolutionary nature of which they were presented. i went into the punk movement and then shortly before he turned 15 i went to a party where i was raped by two men and a new i could not tell my parents they were blaming about lying where i was going and drinking at the party they would be more angered about that than to be upset i was sexually assaulted.
i took that trauma and shoved it down and became engulfed with rage over the course of six months and angry at the people in the periphery of the slope culture was a neo-nazi white supremacist the rage that i felt resonated deeply with the rage that they fell in a spent time with them and listening to white power music and broke down the barriers even racially charged language and that ideology or the talking points of the movement and putting it into my vernacular. i began to read some of the literature that was part of the movement. over time it was only about this movement from the time i woke up went to sleep or