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tv   House Ways Means Hearing on Paid Family Medical Leave  CSPAN  August 26, 2019 12:04pm-4:03pm EDT

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>> and now the house ways and means committee examines paid family and medical leave. while members from both parties express support for paid family and medical leave, there was disagreement over the best way to achieve those policies and how to pay for it. this hearing is just under four hours.
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[inaudible conversations] >> the committee will come to order. good morning, and welcome to our witnesses, several of whom have traveled the considerable distances to be here today for this important hearing on paid family and medical leave. before we move to our scheduled committee business, i want to take a moment to acknowledge the recent tragic passing of pamela moomau, a valued member staff of the staff of the joint committee on taxation for over 28 years. a reminder, again, of the considerable talent that exists sometimes outside of the glare of publicity. pamela began her career at the
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joint committee on taxation in may of 1991, and over the years applied her skill on many legislative issues, both large and small. her colleagues on the joint committee on taxation have said that pam was tireless in her dedication to the work of the joint committee, and that she readily accepted projects that were analytically difficult and often data deficient. she was in her office cheerfully working on a legislative issue just five days before she succumbed to a long-term health issue on april 7. she was a leader in the development of the joint committee's macroeconomic models. she led the joint committee's 1997 symposium on modeling the macroeconomic consequences of tax policy, which represents congress's first attempt to bring serious and thoroughly macroeconomic modeling to bear on proposed changes in tax policy. she was a leader of the joint committee's macroeconomic team for 20 years, and oversaw the publication of congress's first macroeconomic report of proposed tax legislation in 2003. pam worked on a long list of
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legislation, both big and small. notably, she oversaw the joint committee's 2017 macroeconomic reports on the legislation that became public law 115-97, and she was a key economist in the joint committee's collaborative efforts with the congressional budget office to model and estimate the effects of the affordable care act. she worked on lesser-known projects, as well, including serving as the joint committee's lead economist for estimates offered by congress to modify the excise taxation of bows and arrows, fishing tackle, and firearms ammunition, a reminder of sometimes the arcane policies that come before this committee. members of the committee know that we often rely on the economic analysis of the joint committee staff to do the important work of this committee. over many years pam moomau was a very important source of much of that economic information. but most importantly, pam was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a friend, a valued colleague, and a very dedicated public servant.
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we extend our deepest condolences to her family and friends, and remain grateful for her contributions to this nation. and with that i want to recognize ranking member brady, who would also make a few remarks. >> thank you, chairman neal. congress only works because of dedicated public servants who work behind the scenes. these laudable and intelligent individuals, they never seek the spotlight, never ask for praise, nor do they take credit for helping congress ultimately pass laws that positively impact millions of families. for more than a quarter of a century pam moomau was one of those many public servants who helped the ways and means committee in countless ways. as one of the joint committee on taxation senior economists, pam was a leader, as the chairman said, on macroeconomic analysis. her expertise was invaluable in helping staff and helping members and helping me navigate tax policy and how it shaped our economy, especially as it relates to health care.
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committee members and staff all attest that pam 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 the republicans on our committee i join chairman neal in offering our condolences to pam's family and all the staff at joint tax during this time. this committee forever owes a debt of gratitude for her service, and she will be greatly missed. mr. chairman? >> thank you very much, mr. brady. 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 guarantee any access to 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 and paying their bills, but american working families face this choice all too frequently. nearly all workers will need to take time away from work at some point to deal with serious personal health issues, to care
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for a family member, or to welcome a new child. but for middle-class workers, especially those on the lower end of the pay scale, taking unpaid leave makes it impossible to make ends meet. other struggles without income for short periods of time then cut into these opportunities, and we simply see families that can't afford to take any leave from their responsibilities. fewer than half of the american workers currently have access to employer-provided medical leave, and only 17% receive paid parental or caregiving leave through their employers. and despite inflated claims, we know that the tax bill that was enacted in the last congress did not change that. the vast majority of those benefits still go to people at the top, including wealthy shareholders, as evidenced by a record $806 billion in stock buybacks paid out to shareholders in 2018. to the extent that workers are seeing an improvement in their benefits or wages, this is a result in some measure of a tight labor market which does not benefit all workers equally,
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and as a result of states stepping up because the federal government has failed to act. lack of paid leave doesn't mean just harm to workers and their families; it also makes it difficult for employers to recruit and retain good workers. many small business owners would like to provide paid leave, but can't without the backstop of a state or federal program. and the lack of access to paid leave hurts our economy by forcing talented, hard-working people to take a step back in their careers or drop out of the labor force entirely. this is a problem. it is only going to grow. the most common reason that workers take leave today is to deal with their own serious medical conditions while remaining attached to the labor force. the population is aging, and the department of health and human services estimates that about half of americans turning 65 today will develop a disability serious enough to require care. this means that the number of american workers who need personal medical leave and the number of american workers who need leave to care for aging parents, spouses, and other family members is only going to
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increase. it has been more than 25 years since the family and medical leave act was enacted. the family and medical leave act was an important first step, and it has provided most workers with access to unpaid leave. i voted for that measure three times: twice when it was vetoed and once when it was subsequently signed into law. since then americans have taken family medical leave over 200 million times and proven the naysayers wrong. fewer than 10% of the employers reported problems complying with the law, and many reported it had helped them by reducing turnover and improving morale. several of our biggest states have successfully built on the progress made by family medical leave and implemented comprehensive paid leave laws. in 2021 my state of massachusetts will become the sixth state to implement a paid leave law, and ensure that our residents can earn comprehensive paid leave benefits to use when they need them. the result of these state efforts speak for themselves. researchers have found that
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access to paid leave increases wages for women and those with children. it increases labor force attachment or participation, it reduces use of public assistance, it reduces infant mortality, and nursing home admissions. in addition, according to surveys, the majority of employers in states with paid leave support, state paid leave laws and report that providing those laws has either helped their businesses or had negligible effect. but this progress is limited to a number of states and, we acknowledge this morning that federal action is necessary. american workers have been outspoken about the importance of paid leave for all workers. we are here today because we have heard from them and it has been loud, and it is clear. and with that i would like to recognize the ranking member mr. brady for an opening statement. >> thank you, chairman neal, for convening this hearing on paid family and medical leave to help workers and businesses succeed. republicans are the party of life. we understand that babies and the loving parents that are raising them need all the resources available as they
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raise their family from conception to the birthing room, through growing years, to their aging years. republicans support expanding access to paid medical and family leave, and hope to work with democrats and president trump to find the right way to help families balance work and family. we believe expanding access to paid family leave reduces preventable deaths of new moms and babies, helps with family bonding, increases employee morale, and improves productivity, which is why republicans have taken important steps to help our local businesses offer paid family leave programs to their workers. as part of the tax cuts and jobs act, republicans created the first-ever national tax policy on paid family and medical leave. the paid family and medical leave tax credit reimburses businesses up to 25% of the cost of providing paid leave to their workers, for offering up to 12 weeks of paid leave. well, we know every family is different. not only do millions of families welcome a new child each year, there are other families who do
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the important work of taking care of an aging relative. so under republican leadership last congress we passed the raise family caregivers act, a new law that directs the department of health and human services to create a national strategy to develop better support for family caregivers to keep their loved ones at home rather, than in a nursing home. we passed into law the v.a. mission act, allowing more of our veterans, our heroes who served our country, to be taken care of by their families at home, rather than within the massive v.a. system. republicans are proud to champion these vital initiatives, to set into motion the engine that is making paid leave a reality for more families today. we also know every dollar counts for families. that is why in the tax cuts and jobs act we doubled the child tax credit to its largest amount in history, increased its refundability and expanded it, so eight million more families, working-class households, could access this important credit to help with the expenses of raising kids. we know good jobs with growing wages are vital to families. by
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rejecting the slow growth and stagnant paychecks of the past, republicans and president trump have created an economy growing 50% faster than the obama projections. we have the lowest unemployment in nearly half a century, and the fastest-growing paychecks in more than a decade, rising even further and faster among blue-collar and low-income workers. because america today has a million more job openings than workers to fill them, the competition among businesses to hire workers is fierce. this is encouraging more businesses to provide expanded benefits for their workers like paid family and medical leave. that is good news. today half of all u.s. workers have access to paid maternity medical leave, and it is growing. according to the society of human resource management, businesses offering this have tripled, just in the past four years, and that is without a costly federal mandate. as we work to expand access to paid medical leave there are real concerns that a new
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one-size-fits-all washington mandate will limit family flexibility, could be extremely costly, and will lead to higher taxes on workers, reduce the job benefits, or harmful cuts in education, social security, and medicare to pay for this costly new mandate. the true cost of the family leave mandate is up to $1 trillion in the first decade, according to the highly-respected american action forum. and it could go higher. this could force an average worker making $50,000 a year to pay more than $58,000 in higher payroll taxes and lower wages over the work career, whether they ever use the program or not. families in the 21st century want flexibility at work, not a smaller paycheck for life. fifty eight thousand dollars is a lot of money. that is one full year of retirement. that $58,000 could be better spent by families on what they need, like diapers, or child care, or education.
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and rather than an expensive washington mandate that means smaller take-home pay, let's join together to give local businesses the flexibility to craft plans that are best for their workers, instead of taking money away from hard-working moms and dads. as republicans, we urge first making permanent the paid family and medical leave tax credit, which expires at the end this year. no member of congress should support taking away this valuable tax incentive if we are serious about expanding access to paid leave. secondly, let's make it easier for small businesses to join together to make it more affordable to offer paid family leave to their workers. finally, let's continue to empower job creators so they can tailor paid leave plans to fit their workers' needs. families and businesses are different, and benefits help workers best when washington doesn't interfere. today the question isn't whether to expand paid family leave, but how best to achieve it. we look forward to the hearing today. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. brady.
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we have a distinguished panel of witnesses here with us today to discuss this important issue of how to access paid family and medical leave, and how it can help workers, employers, and our economy. but just before i introduce the witnesses i want to acknowledge the untimely passing of new york times health care reporter robert pear. robert 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 the health care system, and he will be deeply missed. we send our deepest condolences to robert's family and his colleagues at the new york times. with that, let me introduce our witnesses. i want to welcome marisa howard-karp from my home state of massachusetts. ms. howard-karp is raising two high-needs children, and dealing with her parents' illnesses. mr. anthony sandkamp. mr. sandkamp is a business owner from new jersey who can help us learn about the transition to a state paid leave program, such as the one that they have in new jersey, and the effects that it has had on his business and employees.
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ms. pronita gupta comes to us from the center for law and social policy, where she works on issues including job quality and economic security. she will help us to understand the research on paid family and medical leave programs. let me welcome also suzan levine from washington state, the home state of our colleague, ms. delbene. ms. levine is the state commissioner of washington state employment security department, whose state has paid family and medical leave programs that will come online in 2020. and finally, ms. rachel greszler is a research fellow focusing on economics, the budget, and entitlements at the heritage foundation's institute for economic freedom. each of your statements will be made as part of the record in its entirety. i would ask you to summarize your testimony in five minutes or less. and to help with that time there is a timing light on your table. when you have one minute left the light will switch from green to yellow, and then finally to red when the five minutes are up. ms. howard-karp, would you
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please begin? >> good morning, chairman neal, ranking member brady, and members of the committee. my name is marisa howard-karp. i live in dedham, massachusetts, and i am a proud member of moms rising. i am a wife, a mother, an only child, and a member of the sandwich generation, caring for my children and supporting my aging parents. i want to tell you today about why i believe so strongly that a national paid family and medical leave 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 am a nonprofit professional currently working in pediatric health care. 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 clothes with my seven-year-old son and my five-year-old
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daughter when my mom called from georgia. my dad had suffered a major stroke and he was in intensive care. i was on a flight within a few hours, and i spent the next months shuffling back and forth to help my parents navigate, first, this crisis, and then the huge changes in their lives that came from my dad permanently losing his ability to walk and to speak clearly. around the time my dad got out of rehab i got another awful phone call. it was 2 a.m. and i was traveling for work in chicago. my mother was at the er, and a scan showed that she had a malignant brain tumor. again, 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 first surgery and then inpatient chemotherapy, then again 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
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survived, and i am so grateful. but 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. i had recently started a new job and i was worried that taking any type of leave would jeopardize my job security. without my job i have no idea how we would have stayed afloat. my wife was teaching at the time, and we needed both of our incomes to cover our day-to-day expenses. both of my kids have some 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. we had college degrees and salaried jobs, and my parents had been saving for retirement for many years. still, their medical crisis almost created a financial crisis for them and for us
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because none of us had access to paid family and medical leave. my employer turned out to be incredibly supportive and i was able to keep my job. they were flexible about when i put in my hours, and they let me do a lot of remote work. but even with the support, the juggling was not easy without paid leave. i worked on planes and in hospital rooms, at nights and on weekends. my productivity suffered because i was exhausted and distracted. still, i was better off than people who can't work remotely or with that kind of flexibility. my hope is that nobody should have to rely on luck or flexibility 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 have made a huge difference for both my family and my employer. access to paid leave would have been guaranteed, and i wouldn't have had to worry about losing my income while i was also worried about losing my parents. i would not have had to rely on
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having a flexible job or on juggling work while also trying to manage my parents' health crisis and my children's needs. i could have taken paid leave a week or two at a time. my employer would have benefitted from a subsidized insurance program, and my self-employed parents could have recouped some income during a financially difficult time. as this committee is discussing a national paid leave policy i hope that what i have shared will stay with you. it was very difficult, but it is not unusual. although some states, like my home state of massachusetts, have stepped up to pass comprehensive paid leave policies, the vast majority of families don't have access to paid leave. and making the choice between our families in the time of emergency and our paycheck is an immoral choice. as a country i believe that we can do better. a policy that only covered people with new children would have left my family behind. families are counting on
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congress to adopt the kind of comprehensive paid leave that this country needs. thank you, so much. >> thank you. mr. sandkamp is recognized for five minutes. >> chairman neal, ranking member brady, members of the committee, thank you for the invitation to testify today during small business week about the benefits of paid family and medical leave. my name is tony sandkamp and i am the owner of sandkamp woodworks, an architectural woodworking business in jersey city, new jersey. my four full-time employees and i provide custom work to high-end clients from boston to new york city to here, in washington d.c. i have been running my business since 1991, and i am a member of the main street alliance, a national network of more than 30,000 small business owners. i am a proud supporter of the new jersey family leave and temporary disability insurance programs. the protections my business and employees count on should be
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available nationwide. yet in most states lawmakers have failed to adopt paid family and medical leave, harming the country's 30 million small businesses, our 59 million employees, and our communities. small firms generally don't have the capital and scale to provide paid leave. the lack of a national paid leave program hands the advantage 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 a 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 didn't tell me why he was leaving, but i later found out his mother was dying of cancer in florida. he was too proud to ask me for help, and my business couldn't have covered his salary, even if he had.
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much of the pain and damage could have been avoided if family leave insurance had been there at the time. my employee would have been able to take paid leave without feeling like he was asking me for a personal favor, and my business would have been able to retain a valuable employee. but we didn't have paid leave yet, and 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 him were astronomical. i had to take time away from my responsibilities as an owner and a business, and my business suffered. replacing employees is expensive, with turnover costs averaging one fifth of an employee's annual salary. and now for the after picture. four years ago an employee came to me and told me that his wife was having twins. he needed paid time off. and i had recently joined the main street alliance, where i learned about the family leave insurance program. the paperwork was straightforward.
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the employee and i filled it out together, and he got the wage replacement, and he bonded with his twins. he is a 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 employee to full-time, giving that 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 of the twins came back. from a business perspective, well-structured, comprehensive leave programs like new jersey's make leave simple and affordable. they spread costs without creating significant new administrative requirements. when an employee needs time off they draw income from a fund to get by until they return. business owners can use the salary of on leave employees as they see fit. most importantly, workers with paid leave are more likely to return to their jobs. new jersey's program wasn't
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perfect out of the gate. this year we updated the definition of family to make it more representative of actual families. now, for example, a person can take paid leave to care for a sibling. i know how important that is, because one of my sisters, who wasn't working at the time, cared for another one of my sisters for four months until she passed away from stomach cancer. we also expanded job protection and increased wage replacement so more workers can afford to use the benefit. 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 of us is superman or immune to illness or injury. we need a safety net that includes paid family and medical leave, paid sick days, and other supports that recognize that working people have families, dignity, and human bodies with limitations. supporters of paid leave are often asked whether the cost would harm small business. it is the cost of not having these policies that hurts.
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i can't have people distracted or sick when they are working, they make mistakes that delay or ruin projects. more importantly, for safety i need everyone operating at 100%. we need congress to act. we need to recognize that this problem can be solved only through good public policy and a well-crafted national social insurance program. we are eager to contribute to such a program and make it a success. thank you for the opportunity to speak today. i look forward to your questions. >> thank you mr. sandkamp. let me recognize now ms. gupta for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman, ranking member brady, and members of the ways and means committee. my name is pronita gupta. i am the director of job quality at the center for law and social policy, clasp, an anti-poverty 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
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paid family and medical leave, especially as a critical support that can help low-income workers and their families stay steadily employed, while also having the time and resources to care for a loved one, or their own health, without jeopardizing their economic security. i bring to this testimony extensive experience on paid family and medical leave at both state and federal levels at clasp, and previously as the deputy director of the women's bureau in the u.s. department of labor. i have also experienced the power of paid family and medical leave personally, as a new mother whose baby needed to be delivered early and go to the nicu for two-and-a-half weeks. as i dealt with my own healing and worried about my baby's health, the one stress i didn't 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 with, almost all working people will experience a
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caregiving need at some point in their lives. and while paid parental leave is needed, it is not enough. according to the most recent data from the u.s. department of labor, roughly 75% of people take leave to care for a seriously ill loved one or their own serious illness, compared to the 21% of leaves taken for the birth or placement of a new child. i am now a caregiver for my father, who is suffering from alzheimer's. so as someone in the sandwich generation i definitely understand this need. secondly, paid family and medical leave strengthens individuals and families' economic security and the national economy, reduces racial disparities in wage loss, and improves workers' health and that of their family members. without access to paid leave, families, especially low-income families and people of color, have no good choices. one in seven low-wage workers and one in five low-wage working mothers report losing a job
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because of illness or the need to care for a family member. third, paid family and medical leave programs are endorsed by employers who may see benefits such as reduced turnover. evidence from the states that have implemented paid family medical leave show that large majorities of employers report positive or neutral experiences with the laws, and that many experience positive results such as improved employee morale and retention. paid family medical leave also levels the playing field for small businesses. small businesses that can't afford to shoulder the full cost of paid leave today would be able to offer it through a national paid family and medical leave social insurance program, such as envisioned by the family act. fourth, given the current realities of work in the united states, we urgently need a national paid family and medical leave program now. millions of workers, predominantly women and people of color, now have jobs with low pay, shifting work schedules, limited or no workplace protections, and few, if any, benefits including access to
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paid family medical leave. workers who are 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 that paid family medical leave works, and give us a rich trove of experiences on how best to implement it. we have data from six states and the district of columbia that have enacted paid family medical leave. my written testimony covers these lessons in detail, and i would be happy to answer questions. but most of all, the state momentum demonstrates that a social insurance model for paid family and medical leave is affordable, practical, 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 nor move to one of
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the seven jurisdictions with paid family and medical leave to have peace of mind when they need to 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 and medical leave, allowing individuals to stay employed steadily over the course of a career, while also caring for loved ones and providing for their own health. we cannot afford as a nation to delay these solutions. thank you for the chance to testify, and i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you, ms. gupta. let me recognize ms. levine to testify for five minutes. >> thank you, chairman neal, ranking member brady, and members of the committee for the opportunity to testify on paid family and medical leave and how it helps workers and employers succeed. i am proud to lead the washington state employment security department, the state agency currently implementing the latest and one of the strongest paid leave programs in the united states. from washington state to washington d.c. and everywhere in between paid leave is an issue that brings even the most
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diverse 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 a human one. we all have to give or receive care at some point in our lives. paid leave especially provides critical financial stability to lower-wage and middle-class workers who often face going into debt or taking public assistance when hit by a health crisis. you have already heard from the other panelists about how important paid leave is to both employers and employees. and, ranking member brady, i really appreciate your point that this is not about whether, but how we do this. i am here today to answer that question, and to share with you that, while developing a paid family and medical leave program that works for both employers and employees is no easy task, our state is proof it can be
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done and done at scale. when our law passed our legislature was under split party control. and until the eleventh hour of the longest legislative session in state history, its fate was tenuous. yet throughout the process a core group of bipartisan lawmakers worked with business, labor, and family advocates to see this program through with strong bipartisan support. just like the washingtonians with whom i speak every day, i am personally affected by this program. as a parent, spouse, and child there have 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 leave, disability, vacation, and unpaid leave to get the time i needed with my babies when they were born. and now, with an 81-year-old mother, i need to be there for her if and hopefully, a long time from now when she needs it.
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balancing work and health is hard, no matter who you are. and i feel so lucky to live in washington state, where, 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 a strong middle class by breaking down the current barriers in society that separate the haves from the have nots. every single person needs to take leave at some point. therefore, what we have designed is a program that is generous, with up to 18 weeks off, with up to 90% wage replacement. it is progressive, meaning that lower wage workers receive a higher percentage of their income while on leave, and are more likely to utilize the benefit. it is portable, meaning that people can utilize it even if they have multiple employers or change or leave their jobs. it is military friendly, so that certain military events qualify a spouse or family member for paid leave, such as pre and post deployment activities, military
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ceremonies, time to spend with a service member on r&r, and to care for a family member injured in the line of duty. it is business-focused, with special benefits such as business assistance grants that allow businesses with 150 or fewer employees to help cover costs associated with an employee being out on leave. and speaking of business, they have been especially involved in the design of our system, in part because the median cost of replacing an employee is estimated to be about 21% of that employee's annual salary, and they recognize its value as a retention vehicle. unfortunately, 83% of americans have no access to paid family leave at all. now, states are leading on the issue of paid family medical leave, but it is not enough. a federal program that balances the needs of employers and employees, similar to washington state's, would mean that where someone lives wouldn't determine if they have to choose between a paycheck and caring for themselves or a loved one. plus, it would bring our country
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into better alignment with much of the rest of the world as the global marketplace grows increasingly interconnected and workers' choices of where they live and work expand. a few short weeks gives time to bond with a new little one, a chance to say goodbye to a loved one, and peace of mind to care for yourself in life's most challenging times. a paycheck is essential, but time to care for yourself and your family is irreplaceable. paid family and medical leave means washingtonians won't have to choose between the two and employers won't have to lose workers when that life moment happens. i want to thank you again for the opportunity to testify on behalf of washington state. and as a national model for paid family and medical leave is considered, we hope you will look to washington, where the program was developed by individuals from across political spectrums coming together to craft something that works for families, workers, and business owners alike, and helps to build and strengthen the middle class. i look forward to answering any questions you may have. >> thank you, ms. levine. let me recognize ms. greszler
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for five minutes. >> thank you for the opportunity to come here today. americans want paid family leave. lawmakers want them to have it, and businesses want to be able to provide their workers with it. and i am here today to say that i, too, want workers to have access to paid family leave, but not just any type of paid family leave. as a mother of six young 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-based and employer paid family leave programs is great news for workers. but a federal paid family leave program could halt this expansion and shift the costs of existing programs, which i estimate to be anywhere between 125 and $275 billion per year onto federal taxpayers. so what would the costs be for a
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federal program? for starters, it would mean higher taxes. the family act is supposed to cost only $240 per year for the average worker. but that would only finance a barebones program that would not meet most workers' needs. when new jersey passed legislation this year to increase awareness and access to its program, its projected taxes on workers quadrupled. providing a comprehensive federal program that is truly accessible to all workers would require an extra 1,000 to $2,000 per year in taxes for the average worker. those higher taxes would hit lower-income workers the hardest. although that is the opposite of what is intended, it is what has happened in both state-based programs and in europe. they have found that these programs have disproportionately benefitted middle and upper- income earners at the expense of lower-income earners. now i want to narrow in on what policies will actually work best for workers and for their employers, and this is where i
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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 of advance notice to provide to my employer. i don't have time to get a doctor's certification. i may not have enough savings to cover my costs while i am waiting for the federal benefit to kick in, which could take weeks or months. and a partial government benefit might not be enough for me to be able to afford to take leave at all. at a recent hearing before this committee, ms. tameka henry explained how her family waited six years before her husband received disability insurance benefits. workers don't want a rigid program with a burdensome application process, sub-par benefits, and a significant waiting period. that simply won't help them. but a lenient program with
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generous benefits will invite misuse and abuse that will lead to excessive costs for workers and employers. a one-size-fits-all program simply cannot meet workers' and employers' needs in the way that programs designed on their own terms can. with the robust economy and a 3.9% unemployment rate, workers are in a great position to demand paid family leave, and employers are well poised to provide it. now i want to caution against one particular proposal that would use social security for paid family leave. this would violate social security's purpose and lead to all types of unintended consequences. social security is an old-age insurance program. it is not a social piggy bank for common life events. moreover, the proposal's modest scope and costs would never hold. as policymakers expanded social security's mission and benefits, its costs have grown from 2% of workers' paychecks to nearly 14% today.
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adding a paid family leave program would only exacerbate social security's unsustainable costs. now to conclude i want to talk about what policymakers can do to help workers achieve access to paid family leave programs that meet both workers' needs and employers' needs. first is to pass the working families flexibility act so that low-income hourly workers can choose if they would like to substitute their overtime work for paid family leave. second is to allow workers to use their savings without a tax penalty to take paid family leave. third is to increase access and awareness of private disability insurance policies that cover a lot of families' needs. and finally, congress can reduce barriers that prevent employers from offering paid family leave and that prevent workers from being able to afford taking it. less time spent complying with government regulations and fewer
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dollars taken away from workers' employers means more time and more resources for paid family leave. thank you. >> thank you, ms. greszler. mr. sandkamp, one of the things we talk about in the ways and means committee is making sure that american workers can get and keep good jobs. could you tell us more about how new jersey's elite law helps you retain good workers and helps how reducing employee turnover helps you grow your business and pay her 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 skilled employee. and after new jersey enacted the law, i have an appointment was still with me today who is my most skilled employee, and he still with me. and his 220 are now now four years old.
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as an example, that to me is a a huge cost to my business when i have to replace that employee. a skilled worker is so much more productive than a a new worker. it takes many months for a new worker to be able to come in and get up to speed. during that time i'm not making a a profit that i would meet with the skilled worker. it's not just the acquisition of a new worker but it is the training of the new worker and giving the person up to the productivity of the skilled, longer-term worker. >> thank you. ms. howard-karp, thank you for being here. as you told your important story, if the massachusetts paid leave law or national paid leave law had been in effect when you got the call about your dads stroke and you would know when you are entitled to take a paid family leave, would you have done anything differently? >> yes, certainly. i would've been able to take some time off work with that initial crisis happened. and focus just on my parents and all my children at home without
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also trying to juggle a full-time job. it would've been an enormous stress her off me and my family if i'd been able to focus on just those two big pieces without the third one, and i wouldn't have been concerned about our financial stability at the same time. >> so we talk a lot about labor participation rates in this committee. and the high i believe in the mid-1990s was at about 8% of the american people were fully participating in the workforce. today that number is closer to, i think, about 63.8%, and it is really buried and there's also been low growth in terms of productivity. members of this committee, our republican friends as well, we've had an interest in labor participation rates. so did the panelists, how is this help keep people in the workforce? and why don't i go to you,
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ms. gupta, did you get a chance to answer that question? >> well, thank you for that question. we know that paid family medical leave, especially in other countries, have helped improve peoples participation in the labor force. and we know that by having access, one of the reasons we think that the numbers are coming down in this country is because people don't have access to paid family and medical leave, which puts a huge burden on families. as i mentioned in my testimony, there is an urgent and growing need for paid family and medical leave, , and those who need it e most had the least access to it. 84% of private-sector workers have no access to paid family leave, and this is worse for low-wage workers. 93% of the lowest wage workers have no access to paid family leave, and a 2% have lack of
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access to paid medically. so the birth of a new child or a sudden medical crisis can have a devastating impact on these workers lives and economic security. and we know from data not only can it lead to loss of necessary and needed income, but it can actually lead to loss of a job. in my testimony i mentioned that one in seven workers have reported losing a job due to caregiving needs. so all of that contributes to not being able to have attachment to the labor force at the rates that we think that people should have access. and paid family medical leave really provides a critical work support so that families can have that time they need to care and have the economic resources to be able to meet those caregiving needs without losing needed income, without losing i need a job. and we know that when workers
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are able to come back, especially data from california show that when people are able to have access to paid family and medical leave, they stay with the same employer for a longer time. they have higher wages and higher productivity. and that helps both employers and the worker and the larger economy. >> thank you. let me recognize mr. brady, the ranking member, for five minutes. >> mr. chairman, i think the good news is that they're strong bipartisan support for expanded access to take medical leave. that's great news. the question is how best to achieve it. we are often told look to europe, look to their paid family medical leave as that model. but look, we want women to rise up the corporate ladder. american women are three and half times more likely to be managers here than in sweden or norway, three times more likely to be managers here that in france, and five times more likely than in germany. the european model is not what we should be looking for.
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we should be developing an american model. we also want more women in the workplace and staying there. but if you look at the states that have paid family leave mandate in place today, in california, new york, new jersey female participation in the workforce is lower than the national average, markedly lower. only in rhode island does it hit average, barely. so mandate alone isn't the answer to helping women get into the workforce and stay there, if that's what they choose for their life and their dream. i also worry the advertised cost of this federal mandate is woefully low. and the consequences of pounds of working parents will be swept under the rug. look, the american action forum as led by doug holtz-eakin, former head of the cbo, the estimate a true cost of this is closer to $1 trillion in the first decade, and going.
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and i worry that that requires painfully high payroll taxes, which hurts for working families the most, or cuts in other worker benefits. or congress will rate other important programs like education, social security and medicare to pay for. we saw this in the affordable care act, $800 billion slashed from medicare to pay for that new entitlement. and the affordable care act, which will run a $1.5 trillion deficit this decade, we don't even know yet what that money is going to come from. so ms. greszler, we all agree or access to paid family leave at work support. it is good that more than half the workers have access to paid maternity and medical leave. it's going without a mandate. the question is who doesn't have access today at work, is a primarily in smaller businesses and medium size businesses? are there certain types of industries where it's less prevalent? where do we focus our efforts in
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trying to expand that access? >> yes, that is a really important point, because we're trying to target the group of workers who don't have access, and that is primarily lower income workers and those who work for smaller businesses. i will say that the very lowest of income workers, families in poverty, are actually two-thirds more likely to work very, very small employer and those of the people for the least poised to give to provide these programs. unfortunately, by doing a social insurance type program that is going to pose the taxes on everybody, for lower income workers will be the ones who will disproportionally pay for that. this begs the question of, looking at this lower income workers in smaller companies, it's unclear whether the family act would be available to them because under fmla did not provide a job protected leave. these these are the people the y most about losing their job if they are going to take lead. >> is it true a quarter of workers report taking leave last
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year, and 75% receive either full or partial pay? if that's the case how do we focus on that gap? do you know what i mean, that quarter gap that isn't getting some help? when we went into these immediate family situations that you and others describe, how do we make sure we are finding ways to plug that gap? >> when really get the low income workers, those are predominately hourly workers. a great option for dennis working families flexibly act. but that would allow those lower-income works to do to choose only to want to, if the clock two hours of overtime when we, then they could get three hours of overtime pay time off in exchange for getting through hours of pay. it's simply a choice that would allow the average worker to accumulate potentially weeks per year in paid family leave, but it wouldn't be at a cost, to the employer there's no mandate on that. it simply this option that is for some reason prohibited among private employers but it is available to state and local
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workers. >> so it is available now to government workers? >> it is. >> but that flexible isn't available in those small businesses or in the private sector at all? >> private employers are prohibited from offering their employees to have that overtime time off. >> thank you. thank you. you back. >> let me recognize the gentleman from georgia, mr. lewis. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to thank you for holding today's hearing. i would also like to thank our witnesses for being here. you are good here you are very good, and you are smart. thank you. mr. chairman, working families are the backbone of our country. yet, as you stated, , the united states is the only industrialized nation not to provide paid leave. in my home state of georgia, 60% of workers cannot even use,
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afford unpaid leave under the family and medical leave act. every family is different, but life happens to all of us. our humanity calls us to help those we love. no job should stand in the way. time is our most precious and limited resources. with paid leave you do not have to choose between your jobs and your family, or between your job and your own health. paid leave works. i think the witness from the state of washington testified that paid leave works. and those of us who used paid leave know that it works. you shouldn't have to choose between your job and your family, the tween your own
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health. congress must permit every american, not just the rich and wealthy, to take the time and ability to care for those dear to us. babies, elderly parents, even themselves. i want one of you, any one of you, to make it plain and crystal clear how you have seen paid leave work in your family, in your community, your organization, your synagogue, your church, a mosque. just testify. dramatize it, make it real. >> i would be happy to start. as i said i have six young children and so i have been fortunate to be able to take the opportunity to take leave with each of those.
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and i will say that my leaves have never been exactly the same. i did walk out of the door one day and come back 12 weeks later. with every child it has been different. some of that different circumstances with the birth that has required more of this type away. what i i would say is that i le the opportunity, to multiple employers over those years, to be able to work with my poor to sit down and say this is what works for me, it is what indeed, and have them say here is what we would need. in some cases that is minced and connected to the workforce, respond to prevent e-mails or take a phone call here or there went able to do that and when i'm willing to do that. ..
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something that lawmakers should be considering how that would work into the family and keep doing what they are willing and would like to do. >> paid leave works for both employers and workers and i like to testify as we see in washington state we will roll it out during my first 2020 and everyone will be able to benefit whether they have an awesome employer who makes a plan available. every employer well had access to it. we also have the portability. to be able to leave yourself or if you have a new child in your life or if you're killing --dash my caring for an ailing family member. not just the big businesses like our companies in washington state who can take
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advantage of it but also the small businesses who can be able to afford it. with the million dollar payroll it will cost approximately $1,500 for that to be able to offer all of this exceptional employees there benefit. yes, i also agree. we know that kids are healthier. their parents had stable employment. we know that when in california as an example when families have access to paid family medical leave we see rates of mortality and hospitalization rates go down. and for seriously ill children the presence of parents appearance short days by 31 percent. this is critical for the health and well-being of families and we know that
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parents should not risk losing a job or risk losing needed financial security when the need to take time out to take care of a sick child or a sick parent. for to deal with their own personal illness. this is something that works with comprehensive universal inclusive national paid leave program that's what we need now. let me recognize the gentleman from florida mr. keenan to inquire. i read something in the front page of the usa today a year ago or six months ago that 62 percent of americans don't have a thousand $2,000 in the bank. my point on that we made this clear. it's critical that we find a way to do this and do it together i wanted to explore on the idea that the impact it
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would have for social security when you are looking and asking the administration to pick that up. that region. we head about 220,000 social security recipients i know the offices down there are very capable but i don't another option. everybody on this committee knows we need to deal with the liability long term. both of us. we have to deal with that before we get into other programs. let me ask you what is your thoughts on in terms of the viability of social security or what impact that would have on seniors across the country in terms of adding another entitlement or program as it relates to that.
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even the family act would use the social security administration to deal with the paid family leave claims. i don't think many people have a great experience. we already had over 40 million americans that are visiting the offices every year. the average wait time is 24 minutes. if you think of someone facing a medical emergency. they don't had time to sit there on the phone or to travel to a social security office so i am concerned about how any potential federal programs within the so security administration and then as to the particular social security proposal and using actual benefit program to trade for paid parental leave. the program is already insolvent. in the benefit cats are going to be implemented for
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everybody. it is the time to make the program solvent. the chairman mentioned about massachusetts. yourself in washington. pretty viable program for addressing some of this. why can't this be done at the state level where you closer to the small businesses are the employees at that level and maybe we find a way to help you with the funding. i don't have a confidence of picking up another big program on we have some the other things that we are dealing with. you can use best practices and look and see what works in various states. i can't we partner or something on the state level and maybe that's what were doing but can we do more in the face. >> i really appreciate that question. especially the past legislative session we heard from pretty much every state in the union asking us what
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we're doing and how do they adopt best practices around policy, customer care, outreach technology and the work that were doing around finding our program it really is a best practice across the united states. the answer is because we need a federal program. we need every seat to be involved. i can tell you we have a very hot economy. the bottom line is we can't find workers. a lot of people in the state of florida our having to step up. their employees are the biggest assets. it's the biggest asset that anybody has in the firm. do you have any more additional thoughts. i think that's exactly what we've seen.
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we've have over a hundred large companies come out with new and expanded paid family leave programs. now in a position where the top 20 employers in the u.s. all offer paid family leave programs. the only thing that is standing in the way of implementation of a federal program that would shift it all onto taxpayers. >> thank you mister chairman i yelled back. >> let me represent the chairman from texas. paid leave is really paid state the opportunity for a limited say with an aging parent a new baby or to deal with a medical problem. through the highs of new life into the lows of a loss it can put life on hold. it should it's a check on hold also. with 114 million americans not having a day i paid family
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leave today we need a new paid leave policy that would allow them to receive a portion of the paycheck for family and medical leave reasons. thanks for the dedication of my good friend we have just such a proposal a national paid family and medical leave policy that she has been working on for almost a decade originally introduced into thousand 13 the family act. i'm pleased to be a cosponsor of that along with many of our colleagues it would recognize on the anniversary of the family and medical leave act. while that is very valuable protection now three months of no pay is not a formula for success in dealing with these issues in a program that does
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provide compensation to those who have the need for family and medical leave. i think our existing legal structure takes us back to the madman era we do not have american families these days that are reliant in many cases on a male breadwinner along the women's wages today provide the key supporting wages for many families. about 80% of african-american mothers. in 46 percent of white mothers are key family breadwinners without a federal policy in areas that had totally indifferent state governments like the state of texas. the only hope for elite's come from progressive studios that
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had developed local now under sustained attack from the different state republican leadership. the ability for someone you love to have access should be as universal as access to healthcare. unfortunately. we have some have some very fundamental differences about access to health care just as we do access to family leave. i think it's very personal. the story of alyssa from san antonio she kept saving at what time and vacation days that she head for a last-minute emergency when she finally got the emergency call to leave it was the last day of her mother's life.
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people should not face that kind of crisis. >> i do agree with our republican witness today and with my republican colleagues that the idea which is the only ideas that i think have been advanced by republicans here in the house but in the senate to undermine retirement security in order to provide some limited protection. and that is a real step backward. we can have both struck retirement security insecurity for these families. >> they talk about the thin veneer to give way to the wealthy and the corporations concerning providing a tax credit for employers that are already providing some leave doesn't that approach really laid out most people of color and many poor citizens of all cities and can you really
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point to any good that's accomplished in terms of increasing the number of workers who had access to employee sponsored paid leave it's a backward policy that they are advocating. >> i really appreciate how you had described paid family medical leave. you are absolutely correct. what we see is that based on numbers around access to that that majority of workers had no access to paid family leave. as worst for the lower wage workers. 60% of african-american they are ineligible or cannot
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afford to take unpaid leave. just relying on tax policies were reliance on other incentives that are focused on businesses it's just not enough. or state strategies. we leave huge gaps in access by economic levels and raised in the city and by region. and really the only thing we have that's can help low-wage workers especially workers of color as the universal paid family medical leave. thank you mister chairman think you to our panel of witnesses today i think this is an important topic that we have a discussion about let me first say that i believe paid family leave does have broad support i can't speak for
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everyone else but that is my sense of it. i think the legislation that were actually discussing today has a number of serious flaws in concerns and appears that could be a bad deal for a lot of families. it's often what we get with the one size fits all solution. under the tax cuts and job acts. it has zero federally --dash federal income offers. we have a hearing on earlier this year. this mom is also looking at increases in the gas tax and that she pays to get to work. the increased pack taxes for medical care for all.
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the proponents of the bill that we are discussing today claim that they would need to raise taxes on the single mom i only 0.4% to pay for the proposal. we know from a recent study the tax rate needed to fully cover the cost i would ask for a unanimous consent to submit to the record. what does that 2.9% tax increase at up to. but that in perspective of someone earning $50,000 per year it would be paid approximately $8,300 over the 12 week span of using this program if it was enacted. the single mom would have to access the program for 12 weeks at least seven times to
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break even on the $58,000 we are asking her to pay into the program. this certainly isn't robbing peter to pay paul it's robbing them to pay others. on taxes on hard-working americans to create a program we should be focusing on new ways to acknowledge businesses. we know they want to be able to provide. the incentives and making it easier for small businesses to be in together to write these benefits. we keep hearing and hearing they will only pay half of the tax because their employer would pay the other half. can you speak to where the other half would be. where would actually come from. >> economic consensus in the
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cost that the burden would come down to that themselves. we've heard from small business owners. they employ about 25 women that even though she already has a paid leave policy that this act would cause her to change the policy she has introduced compensation for those workers. the cost has to be spread to the employees themselves. in particular among the lower income people who don't had access to plans already in place. they can recoup those costs by not providing that plan anymore for employers that don't have a plan already they will have to that cost take that cost down to the worker. >> i do want to bring up the fact that self-employed
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workers we know they have to pay both sides of that equation and that is common among agriculture. the farmers and ranchers are self-employed. this would have a very unique impact on them. the benefits what unlikely be felt as well. i hope that we can take a thoughtful approach to this and realize that flexibility as a mother of six is that flexibility is key so that employees can work for their employers ultimately meet their mission. let me recognize the gentleman from california. >> thank you mister chairman and thank you for holding the hearing. thank you for all the outstanding witnesses that we head with us today. my c of california was the first in the nation to implement us the wide family
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program. in california we began the process through a lot of predictions that we connections that we were to come about. it would be hard to implement and it wouldn't hurt our economy and it would cripple small businesses. fifteen years later none of those warnings have proven true. the overwhelming majority of employers have seen in a positive effect or no effect at all california paid leave program went into effect. small businesses were even less likely to report a negative effect of this policy. at some port in our lives we need to take time to bond with the new child. paid leave would benefit all of us. the success of paid leave in california and other states across the country to have done this in nearly every other developed nation on
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earth. make clear to us that the federal paid leave is in fact achievable. >> you mentioned that nine out of ten california employers experience positive or no noticeable effect from their paid leave program. can you talk a little bit more about how employers in california view of the state paid leave program. do they tend to view it as an unnecessary burden. when states have implemented paid leave policies have those policies prompted any sort of economic downturn or have a force small businesses to shut down? mac. >> thank you for that question. again. >> thank you for california's leadership on this. so far 10 million workers had benefited from california to paid family medical leave program. and there are no reports of employers having any sort of
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negative impact if as you mentioned if anything we have heard only that he has have a positive or neutral affect on their productivity on their profitability. on their turn over and employer morale. we know for small businesses again. we have heard no reports of this having any sort of bad repercussions on all businesses instead small businesses are able to afford to pay a small amount into the program and actually benefit again. from higher employee morale. less turn over and as mr. c and kim said. being able to keep talent and actually compete for talent which they otherwise would not be able to. small businesses in california just like you have huge businesses like google and small businesses should be able to also compete and retain talent in the same
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way. >> thank you for throwing in the part about retention. i have heard from employers in my district everything from agriculture to healthcare. and they are all struggling to find and retain workers that is an important point. you highlighted the cost it's really important to point out. that we can't just can just evaluate the cost of the federal paid leave it program by a program by itself. with the way the cost of the whole environment in which you operate. could you talk about the costs associated with losing a worker and finding a replacement worker ? >> just a start. finding an employee is difficult. as that is the smallest portion. the big portion is training employ and getting them to be productive as productive as the person they are replacing. for me, it takes over six months to get an employee at the speed. and during that time. i'm at a loss.
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i'm generally not making money when a person is working. specifically, the bigger cost for me is getting a person up to be efficient and just as efficient as the person they replaced. >> want to go through all of the time and trouble and expense of training a worker if you don't have a program in place to account for this you can run the risk of losing the newly trained and newly hired employee? >> write exactly. i've been in new jersey now under any insurance model of paid family leave ten years. and i had witnessed pacifically before leave i lost highly skilled worker. because of that the savings on training the replacement workers far exceeds the cost of the leave itself. for me as an employer i would
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rather have a small cup of coffee every two weeks not even a latte. for each person and it's basically it. if i have to administer my own program forget 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 that is progressive minded. i want to do the right things for my employees but i was not able to do that. as soon as new jersey did. angry happy to be a part of it. i've been behind 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 their check because it's such a small number. i hear back mister chairman. >> let me general recognize the gentleman from texas.
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>> when it 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 for their children. this committee should work together to find incentives in the tax code that help small businesses retain quality employees utilize a leave without putting a cost or new burden on a small 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 our leaving these utopia states that have provided an enormous amount of government programs. in an enormous amount of taxes and they are coming and relocating in areas that do not had that kind of
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taxation. the owners and small businesses in my district. it surrounds the dallas airport so the national headquarters for exxon mobil, kimberly-clark, toyota and et cetera. all of those corporations even through eternal financing. our handling this issue i think very responsibly. when you have that kind of a dynamic corporate atmosphere in your district. we had hundreds with hundreds if not thousands of small businesses that support the larger businesses. and it is those businesses that i hear the most about how will we afford these programs
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how will we do without these workers for 12 or 18 weeks and then most importantly the last thing that they ask is asked is how will we avoid this. i had three questions for you regarding the family act, how would this interact with the workers pay will it be walk me through the mechanics of how you think this program of work and then could you describe how it works in washington state. >> we are doing premium election. premium election. under the family act workers would pay .2 percent of their pay as i mentioned before
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employees will really had that burden of that pay. initially that doesn't sound like a lot. it may not be a lot for middle and upper income earners. it would be disproportionately felt by income earners. and even if you are talking up $20 a month that is a lot for somebody. >> in your opinion will the amount of money that that collects fund the family act. >> i don't see how it possibly could. if you compare it in the amount of revenue would find about 2.5% to 5% of workers being able to take leave depending on how long they take it for. they had have a need and they've actually taken leader.
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in reality i think the family act would only be able to provide benefits to about ten or 20% of workers. >> without rationing i don't know how you could possibly provide the benefits that the family act specifies with the given time. >> i want to emphasize that it was worker advocates coming together to design a system that works for everybody involved at scale. i also want to start off by emphasizing that he has has gdp growth in the country. >> with 20 seconds. the structure of it is an individual has .4 percent of their weight that goes towards this. one third employer pay for those businesses who are under 50 employees they can forgo the employer portion of that
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although the employee is still able to avail themselves of it. they will be able to get in the% wage replacement. individual would be able to get on their $900 a week salary is 747-dollar wage replacement on a weekly basis. >> the small businesses don't have to put their party. >> there is an incentive and that is the small businesses with the assistance grants. they can get up to so that they can backfill the cost for those individuals who might be going on leave. there was an incentive for them to pay that employer portion. it is their choice. >> of course.
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>> let me recognize the gentleman from connecticut. thank you for the hearing. in those viewing audience. this is very heartening starting with the opening comments and further discussion let me join my colleagues and 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 was the family and medical leave bill act that has impacted the entire nation. in his chief of staff at the time was none other than the current authors of a bill that you heard him talk about earlier. also, we point with great pride someone that was was the engine behind it.
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they worked at the bush center they worked for presidents starting with president kennedy through president clinton every single administration because they relied so much on the most famous for being known the father of headstart. but also a very famous for saying look at the plight of families and they said childcare is a cosmic crap shoot today. and so it has remained. to solve this. today's discussion is so heartening from my perspective i can't thank you enough. as the chairman of the social security subcommittee about how destructive with the conflict that we seem to be
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blissfully involved in robbing peter to pay paul. i cannot help but watching the body language. what would you say to mrs. bressler about the initiative of the flexibility are concerned when you say flexibility is that means the flexibility to do nothing which is unfortunately not the least of which is dealing with social security in general. i think there is great hope here and intellect involved where we can come to a solution. >> and looking for to the subsequent conversation that we will have. what we had set with our program businesses are able to
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do more if they choose but they do have to provide it is a shared cost between the employer and employee. in terms of the investment in this. against all workers the ability to access this. in the top employers in the united states making this available. we had been hearing from them that even the biggest businesses in washington state have not been providing this benefit to all of their staff. they've been making it available to the top staff. they can provide this benefit to all of their staff. at a relatively low cost. and then to the employees as well. lower wage workers get a higher percentage of their pay. we answer the question about
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why are we not accessing this. there was a opportunity to have a dialogue. and look at look at what washington state is doing. i does have that needs from a cost and benefit standpoint for employers and workers. is that something. >> i would love to talk afterwards about the ways that they are offering some flexibility there. when you have a top-down mandate that is set they would say trust everyone but cut the cards. the concern is that if you don't wear if you don't have a requirement though we would trust people to use that
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flexibility what happens when they don't. hopefully we can continue consistent with community press practice we will move to a two to one question ratio. i share your concerns i often wonder sometimes the cost of providing versus the cost of not providing relief. we always try to figure out what can we do to make it easier for people and always comes down to how to pay for all of these things. and who doesn't make the payment. where does the real cost live. retaining talent today is even more difficult.
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one of the important provisions. was the first ever national paid leave tax. do you have any ideas on how this can be improved. >> as it is right now as a temporary tax policy. to start a new program they now that this could be going away in the future. in so doing something that is more permanent i would rather do this through the working family the one problem with that credit they are the offer the program is a credit for new employers as well. they are already paying for this. any other ideas that we can make this deal.
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i'm not talking as a member of congress. maybe making it permanent would help increase access. they are already providing the program that's why i would like to see more growth through things like private disability policies. i have proposed payroll tax credit. it has implications for this as well. allowing them to have a credit against their disability taxes that they pay if they provide the workers with what we would call qualified disability insurance plan as we said earlier. does disability insurance plans cover 50% in the private sector workers. they cover a lot of the needs that they head for both maternity as well as i would like to talk more. i faced two dilemmas. figuring out how to pay for
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all of these things. and being an employer who has to pay for all of these things. it is an interesting situation to be in. one of the things we did pass on this committee was a secure act. we allow penalty free with the draws. how does this add up flexibility. as a great option for 50 to 60% of families that have some type of retirement account to work. they can take that money out tax-free as opposed to having to wait until retirement. i would encourage lawmakers. to encourage family leave. so that workers don't have to save just for retirement. but they can save for any purpose that they need. one other things of the things with the universal savings account.
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it really helps the wealthy but not those who are unable to have these accounts. he always face that dilemma. sometimes the perfect always interferes with that. we face that constant debate. >> it can help low income workers. >> both the workers themselves feeling like i'm not afraid that if i stock this money away. but knowing that they can take it out for what they need. it will increase their savings. and this will be a tool for employers. it's a more comprehensive benefit to be able to put money into universal savings account thinking cover short-term disability. all types of things that workers would like to take that for including their retirement. it would encourage employers to expand that as well. >> i want to thank you for holiness. this is something that we all agree on. in the only challenge is how we get there. >> think you all for coming in today.
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i share your concerns. it's hard to find replacement talent and keeping them on board is critical for your viability and also the families of those workers. >> think the gentleman with that. i want to thank you for holding this very important hearing and i want to think the witness is for your terrific testimony here today. but just to get back to the previous line of questioning. we've been working hard to get that secure act across the finish line. we do allow early withdrawal. we need to resist the temptation to make that easier. when people do start withdrawing. they have a hard time replenishing those funds. and the whole point is being able to expand. younger adults in the workforce. with that.
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because of the absence of a federal policy. that is meant to address. i'm back home and i would be visiting businesses large and small. how we make workforce entry easier. if you have a child or get sick. a father mother grandparent. this is late coming at you. and for too long one of the last remaining economies of the world. that refuses to have a federal policy. if they do have to take time away from work.
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is there indication with state policies at least. that it is encouraging more entrants into the workforce. looking at data. they are able to take time to bond. they were able to go back to work. it increase their wages. it increased their retention. we are starting to see the
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time the urgency in the demand. that's why we need a national universal not to mention the humanity aspect of all this. about what washington state has done. the often in the flexibility. other policy considerations that we should be thinking about.
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>> thank you so much for asking. my district which is the whole state. it has a large rural area as well. when you go east of the mountains we have many in of the same situations that you are describing your experience in wisconsin and what we hear and see as the need for it to be an affordable program and at the same time generous to the workers themselves. our overall program addresses that need by integrating the employers into the conversation and how you design it is really essential and in addition to that working with those employers to do outreach. we would drive utilization and awareness of the program itself. with the awareness that we have we had been able to ensure already 88% awareness over half of the individuals have a positive too neutral perspective on what we are rolling out. in recognizing the and recognizing the value of it.
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or who are soul employers. a number of different ways that we are meeting the needs of smaller businesses. >> i want to thank the panelists again. as americans struggle to balance work and family the united states does not guarantee any access to paid leave. in new jersey my state only one of the. back in 2009. thank you for being here today
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you are great. a great representative the states. your very particular and what you believe. and you testify. temporary disability insurance law. in the small like yours. small businesses employ nearly half of our country's private sector. every 23 private-sector jobs between 2009 and 2013. in new jersey 99-point can't wait for small businesses to become big businesses.
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the big corporations that provide programs which is nowhere as near the number of people that are in this country. that is good that they do that. i salute that. but that is not what we're talking about. unfortunately nationwide access to paid leave is limited and are great disparities. let me ask you this question. we want a successful small business in jersey city the second largest city in new jersey and the state that has paid leave on the books we know that local economies they tell us how offering your employees to help me retain my
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employees. to get them to the point when i have the skilled employees i am at my most competitive in my most efficient. the model that has been contacted. at the hypothetical.
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i had been dealing with this for ten years and been an issue at all. it has strengthened my business. i don't see any way that a tax credit would do that. everyone would still be covered if you guys create this loss. we know that. and you bring up a very interesting point. and i would ask as my final question. spoke about low-wage after-tax
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cuts in jobs classes. and we really get to benefit from the tax cuts. the incredible demand in urgent need that low-wage workers for the workers least likely to have access to paid family medical leave. i did not to go down to help them. those workers need universal portable inclusive national paid family medical leave. i just want to say for new jersey also looking at new jersey's labor force data. they were less likely to quit their jobs. when women are able to stay in the labor force and stay with the same employer 18.2% or more likely to stay with the player after birth.
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keeps them in the labor force. that they can continue to provide for their family, increases their skills. >> let me recognize the gentleman from new jersey. this is not an issue that we should clearly be able to work together on. the congress in my friends. they appear to be more focused on not this policy but instead of coming together on a policy that goes after president trumps tax returns. the democrats had dedicated their time and resources.
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the topic has come up in press conferences releases, letters, hearings, musicals and on the floor in television at least 86 times. this includes two house resolutions the committee had to mark up and devote time too. on top of that for much of their new majority. my friends had been in a public struggle to obtain president's tax returns and what seems a little silly to me is that since 2015 president trump to remember back to 2000 and 12 when 36 of president obama's executive staff owed the country over $830,000 in back taxes including tim gardner.
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in ron kirk. that back and forth takes a lot of time in hard work of the committee time and work that could be going into finding bipartisan solutions to real problems facing americans like paid family and medical leave. i support paid family leave but i do not believe that the federal government should create a new government mandate. that would require all taxpayers and businesses to pay into a federally run paid family and medical leave program. a one size fits all approach is result in leaving people behind. the members are serious about helping american families than they need to reach across the aisle so that we can work together. the large-scale employers. and the metropolitan downtown of america.
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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 work doesn't stop on the farm ranches and mainstream businesses cannot take on the cost, disruption and lack of work that goes along with it. when you think of a small town rural america those are the communities that will be bypassed by this program honestly asking for this program. $50,000 over a lifetime. $50,000 over a lifetime. that is well over the average family of four.
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those are valuable dollars lost by my constituents. has enough money to pay for two missouri in-state students. >> to get a four year degree. from your knowledge and experience how much would they benefit from the new entitlement program. >> is not clear how they would benefit because these are people i can't really afford to take time off of work if your farming and you have a need to stop doing your job. i think your district may be disproportionately affected. and when we are talking about that. we can't contend that there's not a cost.
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also the cost of having workers not to be there and performing their important jobs. the workers will pay one way or another. do we take money from every worker i would beg to differ that putting $1,100 or more back into the park --dash make pockets of americans that must increase their ability to avoid taking paid family leave that has a definite significant impact there. just trying with for them to keep more of their own money. $1,500 per year. you put that into a savings account having the money be there on i would ask you to
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miss consent to submit for the record what i would call documented illinois. inks to all of our witnesses. more than 30% of the congressional district live in families with incomes below the popular -- poverty line. about half of my constituents our african-american. and the current no federal guarantee system how do their chances of having access paid leave compared to those of highly paid workers and more fluent district and a price look at a price do they pay by
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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. there is an urgent and growing need for paid federal leave. two thirds of children who live in poverty live with a person who is a worker. workers are struggling to make ends meet the birth of a new child or sudden medical crisis can cause devastating impact with the lives of the economic security. we know right now that $20.6 billion. train 15
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.. .. it also -- when the cost of doing nothing has big impact not only on low-wage families but also has impacts on employers. high employee turnover cost and we know employees are four times more likely to leave if they don't have access to paid family leave and we know that has tremendous cost to communities and the larger economy. families should not have to make impossible choices between caring for a loved one and having to forgo a paycheck or even lose a job when as i
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mentioned in my testimony one in seven workers have lost a job and it's a first end way entry into spiraling into poverty so we know that having paid family leave will prevent people from falling further into poverty and a low income worker. >> with my congressional district has one of the highest percentages of children being cared for by grandparents followed closely by two other chicago districts. my subcommittee recently heard testimony from a chicago grandmother who was denied childcare assistance because she was in the biological parent. further, within the african-american community extended family like aunts and cousins and others are often kinship caregivers in addition to grandparents and you explain how paid leave laws can be
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structured to ensure that the tens of millions of grandparents raising their grandchildren as well has the millions of other kinship caregivers gain access to paid leave when they need it and are there states already doing this? >> yes. that is why we need to pay the family and medical leave and not just parental leave because we want to make sure all caregivers have access to paid family medical leave when they need it and all states and the district of columbia have that sort of program where they are able to help all caregivers who have that need weather to a grandchild to a sibling or whether it is to a parent so we are starting to see an expansion in the definition of family and many of the states and that is
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very important. it's going much further than the family medical leave act which is pretty narrow in its definition of family. we want to have a universal program that helps our families that's not just limited to parental. >> thank you. mr. chairman, thank you. i yield back. >> with that americanize the gentle lady from california to inquire. >> i want to thank our witnesses for joining us today. i'm glad were having this conversation about something that too many workers across the country don't have access to and an overwhelmingly majority of latino workers don't have and that's adequate family leave. proud to be a cosponsor of that act which is a step to address that wrong. as a mother i know caring for a newborn is no cakewalk under the best set of circumstances and certainly that much more, gated if you're a single mom who has
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to worry about a group of roof over her head, feeding the family and been able to retain their jobs once they've had a child. i know that caring for children is only one half of the battle and only one reason why many working families need paid family leave and both of my families parents were diagnosed with alzheimer's and related suffered from related -- i'm from a large family with six siblings and we all pick up part of the burden and it's manageable but for families that are only children they don't have that luxury and support system and it becomes really difficult when you are on that generation. hearing for my constituents and their unique stories about how they struggle to balance family demands and worklife and how to care for aging parents or for young children and let me to partner with tom reed and we
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co-authored the credit for caring act that we will soon introduce and that is one way to provide some families or tools they need to balance those obligations. i often tell my colleagues that as california goes so well the rest of the country. we like to think we are on the cutting edge and were proud to be from the state that guaranteed paid family leave nearly 20 years ago. over that of the course of that imitation we learned important lessons of setting up and monitoring paid paid leave system. like to start my question with ms. gupta. could you dig in on how california leave law has helped caregivers what lessons can members of congress take-home from the human. >> yes, thank you for that question. california's law has benefited 10 million workers.
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the changes have led to increased labor forces attachment, increased long-term wages and increased time bonding time to be within be with your child and these are critical for low-wage workers. it ensures people have the time to care and have the economic security to come back to work and be productive. again, we know that workers labor force attachment that continues to support them in their family economic security and continues to ensure that they are able to be strong and riveting members in communities for the larger economy. >> thank you. we have limited time so i want to get my questions in. further some -- california has implement this loss and we have
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the fifth largest economy in the world if it were an independent country so i always laugh when i hear my colleagues that are naysayers say this will be terrible. do you have information on how this impacts small businesses everybody thanks it's so terrible and burdensome but you have any expense as a small businessman? >> i've been under the paid family leave in the state of new jersey for ten years and it's something that has been one 100% positive. it's help me maintain employees that will be a significant cost replace and retaining those employees is critical for me. i could tell you that a recent survey by the small business majority said 70% of business owners across the united states are in support of a paid family leave insurance program.
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>> overwhelming majority? >> yes, i've been living with it for ten years and i have -- i know a lot of other small business owners and don't know anyone that's been negative about it. >> great. what challenges have you encountered in getting the word out about washington state new system and how can we avoid the similar challenges if we work on this at the federal level? >> it's been more about opportunities and learning from california weather has not been as much investment in outreach. we've done webinars and advertising administer medication and impact we invested 2% of our budget in outreach already to the business community because payments have started and so we will then start doing benefits in january so that has been key. >> thank you. i yield back.
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>> we were now organize the gentleman from south carolina. >> i think that there is widespread agreement here that we need to make sure that people have access to paid family leave and i think the question is how the program is designed. this is a stark illustration of the difference in the approaches between each side of the aisle because in fact we act as if this does not exist already but a republicans have an incentive program for paid family medical leave and we put it in this part of the jobs act and did it -- it's an amazing thing that we can pull this off but we offer employers with 25% tax credit against any pay you give somebody on leave to encourage small business to offer it to last year 25% according to our survey 25% of people took leave of some kind in 75% of those got
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some compensation either partial or all their compensation. what we need to do is work on that other 25% and encourage employers to further spread this. we put in this for the first time last year last year was the first time with the jobs act for the senate provided by the federal government for employers to provide paid medical leave. we did that at the same time cutting taxes. [laughter] we cut taxes and we gave employers an incentive to provide paid medical leave. i promise you we don't have numbers yet but the number of people providing that lead leave have expanded dramatically and will continue to do so. now, the approach of the other side rather than providing a
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incentive to employers and cutting taxes is to raise taxes dramatically particularly on the independent contractors people working on their own and working for and creating another federal program. think about that. what a stark difference. we cut taxes provide incentive and let enterprise do its work in the other side wants to create another federal program and raise taxes. let's have hypothetical guy, he's a plumber, take $50000 a year and this tax will cost 2.9% of his pay. that's $1500 a year. i promise you if he's making 50 grand he does not have $1500 a year to lay down. you think that i will vote for that or this, mr. -- i can't read your name. you think that god will vote for this? if he had about you think he would say i will pay $1500 a
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year so that i can get six weeks of paid medical leave. you think he would vote for that? >> in my experience that's not what he be paying in though, sir in my experience it's more -- >> surveys tell us that's what this program will cost. do you think he would vote for that? >> no, i don't think he would vote for that. i like to talk about how this impacts small businesses. >> i want you to do that but i got a couple of facts. i want -- our program cut taxes and at the same time provided incentive which i promise you -- we don't have the numbers and yet but it's vastly expanding access to paid medical leave and at the same time we got 1100 dollars in taxes for the average family as you pointed out. we've got the three, three,
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three. her maintain became used to talk about the nine, nine, nine but we have great gdp growth and you think that impacts the average family? 3% gdp growth. >> absolutely. >> the other side that we never happen again and obama said we have to wave a magic wand but we got that 2% gdp growth. the .4% national on appointment and you think that helps the average family? >> yes. >> thank you. we also got the point to percent wage growth but we've had 3% wage growth for the last ten months. when's the last time that happened? >> i don't have that statistics. >> over ten years. does that help? to make it absolutely does. >> those are the facts i wanted to point out that we have the three, three, three which we never have people said we never get it.
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the present wage growth, the present on employment in these are 3% gdp growth. talk about your effect on small business go right ahead with the zero. >> i will close with saying we have something going for us and the free enterprise system with policymakers don't always have to enact something to help workers out. in the case of mr. sander cap is in his estimate is to provide paid family leave if the cost 21% of the workers wages to replace them then why not provide a paid family leave policy instead of your own and that policy can be very similar to implement and you don't need a federal one to do it. >> that makes sense and i yield back. >> the gentleman will be recognized from alabama to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thanks to all the witnesses for being here. today discussion is unpaid family medical leave is long overdue and too many workers across the country are often forced to choose between keeping
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their job or taking care of their families. unfortunately in my state of alabama even unpaid leave under the policy is inaccessible for 61% of the people and whether we are talking about the birth of a newborn or family member getting sick everyone deserves the flexibility to support their families without jeopardizing their financial security. this challenge is relevant to people in my district with the medium income families $34000. low income families face unique hurdles to financial stability and most of my constituents can't afford to take time off when faced with a family emergency. paid family leave would give them the flex ability and peace of mind to support their families during potentially devastating like challenges. in 2019 workers should not have to choose between their families and their jobs. you must take action to ensure everyone has access to quality
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childcare as well as paid family leave. this will alleviate the burden facing too many families and i believe it makes a very good business sense as well as really good common sense. i'm especially touched by the words that you said that what happened to your family -- first of all, thank you for sharing your story. i had a similar family emergency. my father had a massive stroke and i was in new york city working at the time and chose to leave new york city and come back to alabama to help care for my dad. it was not enough i could send money home but i was blessed to have a very good job to do that 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 kind of life but still a quality life even though he cannot move from his waist down and could not speak. he lived for 14 years and i want you something you said resonated
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with me said that in your situation it was difficult but not unusual. i want to echo that because the school family struggled and i left a paying job in new york city to come home because my family needed me to be at home. can you talk to us about the cost to your family and having this crisis and you had an employer that worked with you and so many folks don't have that and so can you talk 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 you share this experience. my dad lived for 14 years and got to become a member of congress and more importantly got to celebrate 50 year anniversary with my mom of marriage. we do what we have to as
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families but it will be great if employers which have been and employees, i think, would gladly chip in because all of us face these kinds of crises and i'm very focused on major is comprehensive and not just for newborn care but covers the gamut of health crisis that we as families endure. >> rights. as a member of the lgbt community and doctors parents i cannot overstate how important the definition of family in this legislation is comprehensive. the emotional cost and psychological cost to all of us is above and beyond the financial cost was enormous. my wife who has a full-time job was home single parenting for weeks at a time in my seven -year-old complained about how many hot dogs they because everybody was pinchhitting. my parents friends said to them for months because there were times when two of them were on
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different floors in the same hospital or where they were both home at stages of the recovery where the two of them were not able to make a sandwich. the ability to be able to be there for them with all the enormous support of our community was the only thing that made it all work and even so, it was a very difficult situation with all that support in place. >> to our small business owner can you talk about the cost of having workers that, like you said, when you do not have a program that was a huge cost of capital as well as investment that you had in your business. >> yes, before new jersey and acted the paid family leave law i had an employee who -- i subsequently found out when he left my employee employment he
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quit and then i found out later his mother was dying of cancer in florida and needed to go down take care of her as her only son. he was my most skilled employees in the fed with me -- >> huge investment and huge loss i have no more time but thank you for testifying today. it's up to congress to figure this out. unlike states like washington states of alabama, will not and access. >> let me recognize the gentle lady from washington state. >> thank you, chairman. like you for holding this hearing. want to welcome our witnesses here and welcome to my fellow washingtonian and fellow susan with a z. thank you for coming out and joining us today. commissioner, our stay, state of washington is influencing a state leave program and in the process of that right now and at the same time that our state the name the best day to do business in the best state to be eight
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worker so it seems to contradict the arguments that we've heard from others here today against state leave programs that you need to choose between aborting workers or growing the economy. i wonder if you talk about how these are intertwined and how you been working to make sure we do a good job of both. >> absolutely. thank you. this is the closest we work together since working in 95. [laughter] 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 programs and programs for benefiting workers is portable and progressive meaning workers get to the lower rate you have a higher percentage of your rates you get in replacement and it is one that also affords individuals up to 18 weeks of these over the course of a year if needed. for businesses it's something
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where it allows them to have maximum flexibility in their provision of this meaning, as a large business it gives them the affordability to provide to all of their employees but for smaller business 150 or fewer they have access to these businesses assisted grants that allow them from 1000 or $10000 a year to cover the cost for their individuals and employees going on leave and for the small businesses under 50 employees they are able to choose participate in the employer portions of program and when they do they have the incentive to access fees and business assistance grants. something that works for both. i was there one final story with this where molly moon creates off of my screen and in seattle a small business owner where for staff ranges from 80-100 and she shared a story recently had an employee that went on leave and she paid for her own paid family and medical leave program so self-insured on that front.
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the cost to cover her assistant went on 12 weeks of leave for having a new baby is the equivalent cost to her entire staff getting this leave throughout our programs. the sale of been able to provide on a statewide basis brings it into affordability for small businesses and as a large business what we are hearing from his body may have been providing it to some of their more white-collar and higher and workers they have not until now been able to afford to provide all their workers no matter where they are in their busine business. >> thinking. you mentioned portability and we know that the way people have been working is changing and more and more people make ends meet and having more jobs and not working just for one place their entire career so can you talk about the program works in a world where we are seen need for more portability and how fought through the skin.
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>> in washington state we rise that the future of work is now. to your point multiple workers had multiple jobs and compiling their wage from different employers and our program belongs to the employees, not employer. an individual can compose their 820 hours from 820 different employers if need be and it follows them so does that hold them to a single employer so if they leave the job or if they change jobs or do multiple jobs the benefit follows them and is portable and something that accommodates the workers today as opposed to the workers of yesterday. >> when we talk about doing a building a stronger metaclass it's a high priority for congress so how do you think this fits into building a strong middle-class? >> we are seeing increased income inequality. the sports within reach of those lower wage workers because of the progressive nature of our
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benefit where the lower range you make a higher percentage of your rage get replaced but finally it makes it accessible for those individuals and brings the metaclass into the stability for them as well. we can help grow and strengthen the middle class and allow those individuals in middle income workers to be able to utilize this and not just to look at i can't access that benefit until light make more money and can afford to take that benefit within washington state. >> thank you. thank you for being here and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> i think the gentle lady. the gentleman from arizona to inquire his mechanized. >> as often happens when you're doing or trying to read into the subject area little concerned that much of reading over the testimonies and things he dug into for our office there is still a lot of policy by anecdote and in looking at we been trying to hunt for an
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interesting misconduct spoken of some of it but he had been looking at previous month on attachment formulas and data because some the data sets we have found did not match so any of you who have the actual map my understanding is a place like washington state has not started to produce data on their program yet so please help us because it's important to some of us that we do policy like that and not policy by antidote but there's a couple things i did want to go into and there's a far ledge but we've been trying to look for information for societies around the world and maybe date set work for family formation and do we see any
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benefit for that program and so far we can't find anything and we would like to because as we all know with the birth rate collapsed in the united states what do you do for population stability are there things we can do a family friendly and were not seen anything in the actual map yet. is it ms. kessler? one thing i would like to we were doing math on the couple states that have programs for a few years and try to understand to state-mandated benefit where it skus on the income scale and is that something you look at because we were getting the impression from the numbers we look at that it wasn't just benefiting the most moderate income or most marginally attached workers but skewing upwards. >> the problem the states had particularly california, new jersey and my nano so much about
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the others is there's a lot of lack of awareness among lower income individuals. it's a bit of a barrier to access that program. there's a petition process to lower income individuals going through and there's a new jersey only 1% of all people eligible for the program used it and i think that is why -- >> say that. >> one -- [inaudible conversations] it lacks robustness. >> it seems like it's inexpensive but that's because it's not meeting its intended population. they recently enacted a law including awareness in public campaigns to do that but the projected cost projected to go drupal in the next year. >> any data from any source talking about how many organizations do this
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voluntarily if you're mathematically in a bowl implement society and as you saw the really exciting data that popped up where once again substantially more jobs were available more than workers so it just -- in that environment i want to keep employees it should be part of your benefit. do we see in organic growth because of the health of this economy? >> we have seen a big growth. i don't have detailed statistics but we have news reports that over a hundred companies have offered new and expanded paid family leave policies over the past three years and what were trying to get at now is the issue of businesses that aren't able to provide that and this is a tricky matter and 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.
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for the intellectual consistency to generally show it something our organization and my office has been interested in and we have gotten an award from the congressional management foundation last year for our employee manual but our office has had texting weeks maternal or paternal or some commendation there for adoption, foster care or anything and we as an office have been doing this for years and i sure hope everyone else that is advocating such a thing also has the exact same thing in their office manual and has had it for years just to show a level of intellectual consistency on our belief systems. with that, i yield back with that for me mechanized the gentle lady from california to inquire. >> inky. ms. gupta, i want to thank you for being here today. before i presented this california district in congress
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that i now serve i served in the california state assembly and during my time as an assembly member and proud to say i was there to vote for passage of our nation first paid family leave the bill in 2002. it was such a huge victory for families everywhere and our california policy allows employers to receive up to six weeks of 60, 70% of their pay for care for seriously ill child, parents and grandparents and grandchild and sibling spouse or registered domestic partner or to bond with the new child entering the family through birth, adoption or foster care placement and i remember the debates at the time i remember how many would say that it was catastrophic that there would be so much harm that it would cost too much it cost
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small businesses too much but what i saw was families in california finally had peace of mind and what we have as far as california is now 15 years of experience to go on and now we have 60 that have implemented paid family leave and now we're complementing having a national paid family leave program that over 84% of americans support so ms. gupta, i want to have us look back at this experience that we have with california and in your testimony it's a longitudinal study in particular you talk about the health benefit that have resulted because of the paid family leave program and can you expand upon that?
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>> thank you. i want to thank you for your leadership and congress why -- my experience around paid family medical leave and i should just say i do not find it difficult program to access it wasn't a burdensome application and i was able to access it and take advantage of the program. california's program has been incredibly successful and has expanded multiple times. the studies out there longitudinal studies out there show that it's led to positive health outcomes for elementary school children especially lower income children and qualitative data has shown that it's allowed low-wage workers to take the necessary time to bond to heal. additional data has shown that for low wage mothers and allow them to have the time necessary to be able to adequate
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affordable, quality childcare. aside from what i've already said about increased labor and increased wages missing it's led to an 11% decline across the elderly in nursing home use having additional savings for families. and for the economy as hole in the states cost as well. it's a program that has been successful. also, california continues to learn from its lessons in innovate and expand and improve its program. it recognized early on that its wage replacement rate is not high enough and has gone back and made changes. it will ensure lower wage
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workers get a higher percentage of their makers when they are take this critical leave. it's a real model in other states are following it. again, 10.5 million people benefit. >> 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 wac to make ends meet. >> thank you. again, as i said there is an urgent and growing demand for paid family medical leave. with the increase in 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 and regardless of who they work for have access to a quality program that is universal and inclusive and will ensure that they have the time they need to heal and care without losing
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much needed income and be able to have the economic security they need to thrive and keep moving forward. >> thank you. >> i think the gentle lady and now i recognize that gentle lady from wisconsin to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to think that witnesses. this has been a very interesting and important hearing and i am sure that i won't have enough time to really ask all the questions i would love to ask. i want to start by giving all the women on the panel a happy mother's day early. this is hard work and i know it's one of the major reasons people need some family and medical leave that honestly your testimony about having six kids is hard to believe.
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you don't look like the money with six kids. you look great. let me ask you, kids wear you out -- i want to talk about your notion that a family and medical leave policy would crowd out other employers who would offer this if the government were not to participate in this program and someone like mr. cap who described his inability to keep just 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 would be crowding out? >> yes, paid family leave hearing over and the senate there was someone from deloitte testifying what they do in states where they have employee- >> all over the world. i think. they are a big employer but --
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spirit yes, but they have their place first file to get database program so you see the crowding out and they provide benefit on top of that but shifted a portion of it on to state provided programs. >> thank you for that. one of my colleagues said that the tax cut in jobs act provided so much money we spent an increasing wages and increasing family leave benefits and you said we will soon see that evidence. misconduct, can you share with us and i know we have seen $803 billion of stock buybacks and i'm wondering what evidence do you have that this is a resulted in increased benefits for families? >> as i have mentioned before there continues to be tremendous need for paid family medical
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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 by .5 million workers are providing caregiving to work with that and servicemembers. the need is tremendous and just providing tax cuts or other incentives to businesses is just not enough. >> let me ask you this, misconduct. i thought i heard the committee with ms. levine say a cup of coffee a week and that might be hard to give up that it would cost for families to provide their part of the benefit and i know one cup of coffee a week is a bit much. but what i'm saying is that how does that one cup of coffee a week compare with the benefit that they receive because you know, our guest here says she
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used it six times and she looked like she will use it again. share with us how that contribution and what impact it would have on low income families. >> absolutely. i up appreciate the opportunity to answer that. i've been covered by the -- when you calculate a cup of coffee for an individual a week so that's $2.44 is what an average individual in washington state will contribute into this plan is $5000 over the course of a 40 year career. the math works out pretty well and in terms of what an individual gets for that benefit. the individual on average making $900 week they would get the benefit 90% of that from a ouija placement standpoint so $727 that they would get on a weekly basis that they could care for their family members and care for themselves and introduce family member and the key thing is not what we would pay but
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what we would lose. that's an individual that would lose their paycheck and lose that access or a business -- >> just reclaiming my time but we heard about three, three, three. 3% gdp growth went to the top 1%, 3.4 an appointment we got lower workforce participation especially among women who don't have flexible policies and three-point 2% wage growth but thank god because we lost x.4% wage growth during the great recession. i yield back. >> i think the gentle lady and now i recognize the gentle lady from india not to inquire. >> thank you. the leader will begin on the worker family support subsidy i do believe it's important for parents to have the ability to stay at home after the child was born or adopted and i think we have to make sure that they can demand the work of raising their families and i am grateful we
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are having this hearing today because i think we can do this. i think we can be bipartisan at bicameral and we can get together and do something productive for the american people which is what they want. i am all in a being a part of shaping this and looking for solutions. i do support policies that would help all working survive -- five at home. both sides agree on the importance of paid family leave. it works. it has been shown to reduce preventable death of new mothers and babies and makes families and communities stronger. what we've talked about the last couple hours over the screen on the concept of what does this look like and how do we pay for it but the idea of a new one-size-fits-all top-down federal government program we've seen over and over that these big government programs seldom live up to their lofty promises
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don't help everyone. in fact, the often end up hurting those they are supposed to help with the family asked discussing today with increased payroll taxes which will have a disproportionate income although low income americans and small businesses with higher taxes and inflexible government mandates i don't think are the way to go forward. we should be working together on the path forward to the shared goals of expanding access to paid family leave so let me start by asking you according to the senator on budget and policy priorities payroll taxes as we all know are regressive and low and moderate income taxpayers pay more of their income to payroll tax and high income people on average. would you say the family act would institute a regressive tax on low income individuals and small businesses to subsidize high income and large corporations? >> the tax under the family act is the same for the social security tax oh yes that's regressive. i fear from this is were trying to help low income earners but we don't want to do that in a way that makes lower income earners pay for middle and upper income earners to take paid family leave.
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>> when we talk about the tax cuts in jobs act the one thing that i thought and i was grateful to mr. keller for bringing up this issue but when we worked on this issue of tax reform keeping families in line and keeping the bonds between employer and employee is right smack dab up in front. look to the concept of universal savings accounts and i'm sitting here for the first two hours to date literally thinking to myself this is such a great starting point because what we were talking about what we could honestly do is take that as a starting point a universal savings account at any employee in every employee can put in the bank, take it out for whatever reason and not even have to give a reason but just withdraw that money when they need it and i'm sitting here thinking to myself big federal plan take all the individual away and you do get trapped in the 30 day plan and having someone go through the rules and relations set up but i
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would rather and the folks in my district would rather be in charge of their future and have direct control over it to make their own decisions and take care of those times when they need to pull that money from an account. i'm also interested in ms. levine, i'm all about monitoring and i love that your hear the plan you have washington but it doesn't even start till january of next year, correct? is still a model and waiting for the start up? >> what one has to do is first build up the collection so were in premium collection mode and are paid out with our employers started last week on april 30th and going quite well and we then will start paying out benefits starting january 2020. >> thank you. but to have that aggregate data that we say here's what washington did and here's how it works we can't get that until the end of next year. >> we are building and what i call heart monitors to track that are closely which does
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require investing in the system that allows you to track that information is so absolutely and invest in outreach so we can increase awareness among employers and workers so i know to utilize. >> i want your plan to work but i'm just saying it will not rule out to january of next year. >> correct. >> really quickly the concept of big or small business been able to pool and do something like that if you had any info on tha- >> that's another great way to expand will be done with the association health plans for small employers to pull together and i can see this working well through a short-term disability insurance policy. that is something that would increase access. >> thank you. are you back. >> dummy organize the gentleman from michigan to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you for holding this hearing and thank you to the witnesses for providing important information before i begin i want to note and my
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colleague whose court not currently on the dais was mentioning he hoped that many of us here who are advocating for this initiative and its initiative are intellectually honest enough to employ the same practices in our office and i want to make it clear that we do. i have, in my own office, a manual a family leave, medical leave policy that mirrors the legislation that many of us are promoting and i will tell you why i do it. because it's really good for the operation of my office. evidence that people who been able to utilize it in circumstances that allowed me a person who depends on the highly productive and really smart people that i hire to be able to be sure that they are able to manage the family response abilities and that i can still
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have access to the expertise they bring to me and the experiences they bring. i do have that policy but i do so merely out of the interest of my office to make sure we can continue to do the good work we do and like many families 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. i will tell you why they do it. they don't want to lose her. i guess one of the first questions is maybe this might be redundant but i ask the panelist to comment on this but it gets frustrating when i hear some characterizations of this that would imply that somehow if we don't have paid family leave that the circumstances that require it will not occur. things happen.
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so, absent paid family leave let me start with you, what happens? what happens? does the person does 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 but we know that's not the reality. the lucky ones like me are able to cobble things together and it was a huge psychological cost but my family was not in a position to walk away from a paycheck and i don't know many families who could just walk away from a paycheck. i certainly will say my employer one my loyalty by leaning in and making things work for me. i stayed for a number of years and was able to make things work for employees and from the
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employer perspective we heard several times to get how expensive and intensive it is to replace a staff person and rather than looking to replace me so my hope certainly is that it was a win-win situation. given the chance between letting my parents think without support looking for my family sinking into debt it's an impossible choice. i have no idea what type would have done if it had been in that position but i hope that nobody ever has to make that choice again. right now we know families are making that choice every day. >> they are making that choice and the difficulty with this discussion and there's a tendency to want to assign a dollar value but there's a
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tendency in this town anyway to assign a dollar value and essentially monetize every human experience we have in the idea that families would have to make the choice in order to take care of their own families to meet the responsibilities and to make the choice to not be able to be there when a parent or another loved one is dealing with the most difficult time and maybe a time that could never be recovered. there are those moments for the end of life. the idea that we have to figure out a way to put a dollar value on that is offensive to me. i think as a society were better than average i think it's okay to pursue policy that says that is of value and we ought to try to -- i wonder if any of you might comment. >> i think your point in terms of who we are as a society we
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support community members is a important one. i do understand businesses is an individual and thinking of the dollar of their lives and together in our policies in washington state that can scale on a national basis if something the plans to what all of your state where individuals in a very holistic way and makes it affordable for both employers to participate and know that they don't have to make bad decisions between a paycheck for caring for their loved ones. >> thank you. i'll back. >> think the gentleman and let me organize the gentleman from virginia to inquire. >> thank you for almost three hours of testimony so far but it's been very interesting. it's been balanced which i appreciate. i do want to point out to my friend from indiana that she said in the last five minutes quote, big federal programs seldom live up to their lofty
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expectations. i like to push back and say that social security has led to tens of millions of senior citizens out of poverty. medicare and medicare provided health care to hundreds of americans [inaudible] these are all large federal programs. i'd also like to push back because she talked about universal savings account as a panacea and i just checked the average national bank savings account rate as of september 2014 was .08% but to put that in context i keep a little 300-dollar savings account in my state department federal credit union to keep the relationship going in every month it's fun to go to quicken and at the precepts of interest i get every month. it's not exactly panacea for american citizens. i want to take my family business we paid maternity leave and is in automobile dealerships we don't have paid paternity leadership presents a largely male workforce and they make a lot of babies and their young men. doing the math here it would be good for us because we can do
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paid botanically the leave and at a rate we could afford. ambassador levine, you've been in business among your very long and successful career should be included bereavement in this? is included in washington state proposal? it's important to deal with the loss of a child as it is with the birth of a child. >> bereavement is not currently included in the washington state paid parental leave program but they can take the time before as an ailing parent or ailing family member may be declining and you can take the lead to care for the individual in advance. >> congressman snyder, a few others we have had the notion of adding bremen to the unpaid family medical leave right now which i hope will pass. certainly i've never had a lost a child not been able to get out of fed for six weeks.
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women's participation in the workforce is a major think about were dealing with here that is the lowest it's been in a long time and a lowest among an ambassador levine to have any impact on what how this could impact women's participation in the workforce? >> i think it would increase it. what's been fantastic with what we've done 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 maternity programs and wondering how has that contributed or not contributing to women's engagement in the employment sector. what were talking about something else for everyone and not just for women to engage. in fact, as an individual as a woman leader it's been most impactful to my career and my husband's been able to take care my kids to take care of our family. what we are building the washington state and talking about on a federal basis is something that will allow women to rise up as leaders to participate because their spouses, be they men or non- binary individuals, will participate in the care of
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themselves, family members and other loved ones. >> ambassador, to continue on what the current as we talked about people moving around a lot the internet was invented in -- and expanded and exploded interstate but what has given rise was the gig exposure. we have these folks doing over and lift et cetera these uber drivers for just doing one thing but have no employer will they be covered by this? >> we look at the individual employment contact on a case-by-case basement for their individual employers. >> this seems to be the fastest part of the economy. >> it is. we do accommodate independent contractors within the program depending on what that relationship is will look at it on a case-by-case basis for each of these employers but what we
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will be able to do is to offer this to everyone whether independent contract or self-employed or work for a small business or large business that everyone in washington state will have access to this benefit. >> if i could praise new york's program they do self-employed to choose whether or not to opt. >> you have a number of really awful critiques of the program but one that you pointed out was that to make henry waited six years for her husband beneficiary department and is currently frustrating but isn't this largely driven by the fact that we start the social security administration of its staff, year after year after year? they can't approve the disability because there's no one there to do that. >> there is a way to log and they could use more staffing but this also has to do with the process. have to wait five months to apply and then apply through three different levels in getting it on appeal so it's a
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lengthy process and often have to hire an attorney to represent them to help them go through that and that cost more money. it has a lot more to the rules. >> thank you. >> with that i recommend the gentleman from kansas to inqui inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman. inky witnesses for joining us today. as we've heard a lot today we republicans believe we need to expand access paid family leave and is a good thing. that's one of the reasons the tax cuts and jobs act enacted the first ever national paid leave and medical leave policy by incentivizing to offer that 12 weeks of paid leave to the tax credit and that could be as much as 25%. in this policy is a good way when allowing for responsibility and benefits while making it easier for small businesses to give that paid leave. we also double the child tax credit which will help families and workers to develop the secure act which will allow people to withdraw money from their retirement accounts
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without penalty to pay for expenses related to birth or adoption of a child. clearly there's been gains over the last two years helping families but we know there's more to do and as a dad of three i'm glad that were looking at different options to expand paid family leave. also as a former kansas state trader i'm concerned about the cost to the treasury and being a good steward of taxpayer dollars. ... would cost more than $200 billion in 2017 in 2017 which would require a 3% payroll tax
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increase. that's a lot of money taken out of the economy, out of peoples paychecks. for ten years commendatory family program like the family act would cost over a trillion dollars in force workers to contribute over $58,000 over the work of their career. from a kansas standpoint that's more than what the average family makes in a year so we want to make sure i would make it affordable, we are able to give option so people can utilize and be beneficial for them. i want to make sure, i guess my preference is let's make sure we don't have a government mandate program with lots of options and tools that allow people to pick and choose what those choices are. i want to make sure as we discussed this paid family and medical leave tax credit and hopefully make that permanent, making it easier for small businesses to provide family and allowing workers more flexibility, an opportunity to tailor benefits. i want to talk a little bit, i recognize that the family act is
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not the only proposal that's been introduced to provide paid family leave. ms. greszler, you talked into comedy about the proposals on social security and the impact there. can you talk more about, based on the solvency projections ran social security, what some of those proposals would do to that? >> as designed right now, those proposals would slightly shorten the date at which social security would become insolvent. that benefit cuts or whether it's tax increases would have to kick in a little sooner. my biggest concern is the proposal will not stay as it is envisioned only for parental leave, only smaller benefit, but that it would just grow over time as salsa scared and medicare and every entitlement program in history have. there's going to be really significant benefit cuts that are coming sooner than we thought, or tax increases. >> when you spoke one of the
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things that really stuck out to my mind is that when we view social security, we view it as the old age and survivors insurance benefit. that's what most people think about of social security, at the two thrust of the program. we've added other things over the years. i'm not saying those disability benefits are not positive things but we don't want to lose the retirement capability that we had in that. there was a 2018 survey done by cato, basically that said having more affordable childcare and more flexible work schedule r top priorities of parents, more so than family leave. ms. greszler, do you believe that the family act provides that level of flexibility that is going to give the families and parents benefits that they want? >> i worry that it is actually going to take away the flexibility. i am familiar with the study that you're talking about, and we see that pay family as a
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fourth most important thing for workers in the flexibility, and that child to a much bigger issues. i'd like to see policymakers trying to tackle thinks in the order of priority and not doing things that are going to take away that flexibility that workers, particularly women,, would like to have. >> thank you. i see a matter of time. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank the gentleman. let the recognize the gentleman from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i, like the rest of my calling someone to thank you, mr. chairman for this meeting and this committee meeting because this is a real fantastic, very powerful information. we are dealing with a serious level of income inequality in our country. we have seen the nation's highest earners continue to have great access to benefits and opportunities, while our nations for struggle daily to make ends meet and care for themselves and their family. four hour pour the system is too
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impossible to escape. women and families of color have been particularly impacted by this trend in income inequality. ms. gupta come in urine test when you stated people should not have to win the bosses lottery or moved to one of the seven jurisdictions with paid family and medical leave to have peace of mind when they need to take time to heal or care for a loved one. i am a firm believer that your zip code to that dictate the quality of life. can you please explain how a strong national page of the program would help address some of these disparities we are seeing regarding income inequality, levels of the playing field for all hard-working families, regardless of their background? >> yes thank you very much. as you mentioned, income inequality is the concern for us as an antipoverty organization, and that's what we really
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strongly believe that a paid family and medical leave program will ensure all workers have access to a comprehensive inclusive program that will help them stay in the workforce. as i mentioned in my testimony, white in seven workers have lost a job due to unpaid leave. and job loss is a common entry point to poverty. when people fall into poverty, this impacts their health, their well-being, their children, and their families. we have over 40 million people living in poverty today. having access to paid family and medical leave will ensure that they are able to provide for their family, but also take the necessary leave when they need without having to sacrifice a paycheck. that paycheck is groceries. that paycheck is needed medication for their child. nobody should have to make that sort of impossible choice. so we feel that it will help
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improve peoples retention and attachment to the workforce which of course will help them continue to support their families and improve their economic security. may i add one other very quick thing? because i know there has been a lot of discussion around the cost of payroll taxes and that funding mechanism. i just wanted to very quickly say that payroll taxes are being used in all six states and the district of columbia. it is a tried and true financing mechanism, and it is not cost any significant hardships to any workers. it is a shared cost by employers and employees, and it's a a benefit that is spread by employers and employees, again, he continues to support workers and make sure they can actually access paid family medical leave if they are able to pay into
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this fund, and it supports employers by improving retention and productivity. seven in ten of those who are employed are willing to contribute one set per year of every dollar they earn to pay for a national paid family and medical leave program. -- one cent -- it is a program that is popular and needed. i just wanted to add that in addition to the fact that low-wage workers we need paid family and medical leave now. >> ms. howard-karp, in your written testimony you discuss the balancing care of your children while also traveling many times to care for ill parents. can you explain how you managed doing this during that time, and have access to a paid leave program to benefit you and your family during that difficult time? >> yes, thank you. i cobbled together everything that was available to me. so vacation time, next days --
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six days, flexible work hours, the ability to work remotely, ii was able to pull all of those things together. the psychological toll on of bg able to figure that out, in the meantime, on top of managing my parents medical crises and taking care of the needs of my children, it was another enormous thing on top of what was already a mountain of stressful circumstances. if i'd been able to take advantage of a paid leave policy, i i would've been ableo step away from work properly for short periods of time to be able to plan that out with my employer, once we got to the initial phases, to make sure that things were, you know, that the lid was on at work. and then i would have been able to just focus on the needs of my family until i was in a place where i was able to focus on work again and be able to come back and be a really productive employee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> let me recognized the
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gentleman from illinois to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank the chairman and ranking member for having the searing and in particular i want to thank the witnesses for sharing your stories and perspectives with us today. ms. gupta, he talked about the personal story of the birth of your child premature in nicu. i remember seeing my niece and nephew day in and day out in the hospital room, praying and sleeping and caring for him. and it is tough. ms. howard-karp, you talk talkd about the situation with your parents while raising kids, and the burden it put on the kids. mr. sandkamp, you talked about from the employer perspective which also affects us. i've been in a situation with employees. to know you had an employee you couldn't do anything for and to lose that, but also the impact it has on the business. ms. levine, a cue for your
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perspective. eight months from now for seven months now, washington is headed down a path that may be a model for the rest of the nation. with that as a lead i guess my question for the panel is it paid family and medical leave is humane policy, we talked about that, it is more policy, giving parents the chance to be with their newborns or children, a chance to be with her parents in her final days, and it is a just policy, i don't think there's any question on either side about this, maybe the debate is why is it a smart policy? mr. sandkamp, i'll start with you because i think you touched on it, the impact it has on business. >> i think that for me it's mostly a net positive in all ways. the only negative would be the small payroll tax. but to me that it's not something that i feel as a business owner, and by employees don't feel, as employees. a net positive is that i retain
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my employees that are skilled and that creates greater productivity for me over the long run and lowers my training costs and makes it much more efficient business. as a small business, that is a big portion of my cost is, and so it's much more important to me. but it's true for all businesses. >> maybe i'll turn to you because we talk about the cost of the business, of the tax. there's a cost to businesses of the uncertainty of losing a key employee, having to retrain employees because they can't work. i guess my question is, are we talking about concentrating costs around an event, whether it is the birth of a child or illness or a sick parent, versus spreading out over time? are there other things maybe we're missing here in this discussion? >> i think to your point there is a way for this to be good for
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the soul and good for the pocket. it is good for individual employees and employers. i basically amortizing the cost of paying for one of those events over a period of time, so again to .4 for a week that i may be paying if i make $50,000 a year will allow me through your so now let's say when i have some devastating thing that happens to me, i break my leg, got from it, or gets sick, again got for me, sorry mom, and i will be able to then have my $900 per week salary, not so devastated that have to didn't leave my job as a call be able to $747 per week in my pocket. what happens is when you can do this at scale, you have a situation where you can advertise the cost the cost multiple businesses and individuals. i'm a big fan and what were able to do in washington state is lower the cost overall to administering this for small, medium size businesses, and even for large businesses so
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everybody can offer to all the workers. when you look at lower wage workers, how do you make accessible and affordable for those employees who today before to take it if it's not generous enough? >> but one of the concerned you hear is that this is a burden on small business already pushed to the edge, watching every penny. from washington state perspective what do you say to those small businesses of ten, 20 employees? >> more importantly it's what they're saying to us. what they're saying to us is this is finally putting into accessibility for them, they are finally able to take advantage of a benefit you wanted to offer in order to compete in the marketplace and they can do it now because its it's lower cost again. for a $1 million payable for example, they will now have $1500 a year that they pay for an extraordinary benefit to their employees. it's not a question of can they afford to do it. it's can afford not to do it. >> over the long run it's smart
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policy, it's not just policy. >> absolutely. >> with that i yield back. >> votes are scheduled on the floor for 1:30 p.m. and with that like to recognize the gentleman from north carolina to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. chairman, i want to thank you for holding this hearing. it fills me with hope that we will have a productive congress when i see my colleagues, both sides of the aisle, with such bipartisan support on an issue that we all believe is important for the american people. i'm also glad we're having this hearing as it allows me to highlight something i don't think has got enough attention, although my friend and colleague, mr. rice, brought it up, which is the fact that the passage of the tax cuts and jobs act would establish for the first time in use history of policy for paid family and medical leave. a paid family and medical leave
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tax credit incentivizes employers to provide paid leave to their employees, thus encouraging flexible, customized solutions, as opposed to a one size fits all federal mandate. and further, the tax cuts and jobs act at has helped working films around the country by doubling the child tax credit and increasing the standard deduction, allowing these families to keep more of their hard-earned money to invest and save for their families needs. as we saw last week the economy is thriving with employment at a 49-year-old low, and were cursing the fastest wage growth in a a decade, which is great s for working families. as i have alluded to, i join with my colleagues in strong supporting expanded access to paid family. however, i want to ensure workers continue to have that flexibility in their choices,
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and are not hamstrung by new washington created mandate. government does do some things well, as my friend mr. beyer from virginia has mentioned, but there some things that government does not do well, and i do suspicion that this is a program that the government would not do well. ms. -- ms. greszler, then you have possibly employees receive paid leave through employer-provided short-term disability plans and the most common benefit is paid maternity leave. how can we grow this segment to include more employers? and don't you think it would be easier to expand on what we have now rather than to replace what is already working in the private sector? so if you could, expand on that, please. >> there are a couple different ways that we can help encourage this growth in these private disability insurance policies. one that i have talked about is
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a payroll tax credit against what the employers are paying. another one is really just a minor tweak that would require congress to specify in law the same thing that you 401(k)s, and that is to allow employers to automatically enrolled their employees into a short-term disability insurance policy. it seems that it would be allowed now but we've heard from a lot of employers that they are hesitant to do because they worry it could be a legal liability automatically enroll someone in. you still would have an opt out so that everyone has to participate but when employees automatically enrolled they are more apt to keep the policy. also, association type health plans, if you have that pool type of structure for disability insurance programs, you could help increase axis that way. >> sorry for the question for you, ms. greszler. private insurers have been administering paid-in and pay for the program for time, correct? and then the capital expertise and administrative infrastructures already in
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place. why would you want to create a new federal bankruptcy -- bureaucracy when private industry has already played an integral role? >> that's a good point and the most efficient way to run any policy is going to be between the employer and the employee. there's less administration, it's clear the awareness is there and so that's the best we can run these policies. we are looking at already 50% of private-sector workers have access to the short-term disability insurance policies, and those providers are coming in telling us they been working with employers on ways they can add a specific paid family benefit into a policy that's already there, , that would require any new program to come in. that's really a cost effective way to do this. >> thank you for your insights. anti-for your answer. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> inc. the gentleman. let me recognize the gentleman from new york to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman, thank you get for trying to promote bipartisan legislation that the people in america are hungering for us to do things together as a group and i think
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this committee has made a lot of strides between you and the ranking member and committee members to try to do things and about personal fashion. we want to encourage that. what you think all the witnesses. we are so grateful to all of you. you've been here for item how many hours and i don't think you got it breaks all-time so thank you so much for the time you put in and for the preparation. all of your stories resonate with me. certainly talk of the sandwich generation that several of you have brought up really resonates with me. i grew up when they house were all four of my grandparents lived. three of them are very sick. my mom and dad just recent past week. my dad was 95. 95. my mom was 93. we are very fortunate that they have long-term health care insurance, a big challenge we face in a country as well. my wife and i just children and trying to manage those things, everything you talked about, i really understand what to talk about. what all you talked about really resonates very well. ms. greszler, i would echo what my colleague was saying earlier about you having six children. that's really what other
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remarkable stories here today. i can only imagine what you would of done if one of your employers said they wouldn't give you a family. would you have quit the job? >> that's an interesting question. i don't know. just not having paid family leave, whether not that would have cost me to quit but i would actually say the flexibility that i've been able to have, not just in taking that time of but also i do have a normal nine to five, five days a week schedule and that's what's led me to stay in the labor force. >> you come across as as a very remarkable person, very talented, very capable person and i can understand why your employers come first of all your employers might be ice people in some cases if you want to do it and also you're probably a value employee. that anybody is in that situation. our country faces this very big challenge that we see in the stock market goes up since 1983 by 1200%. we've using the gdp since 1983 p
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by 60%. workers' wages are not going up in recent big shift in a country where certain public companies but companies generally see the main job is to take care of their shoulders and to take care of the bottom line, and the employees have been left behind. this is another issue what if we could rely on the goodwill of companies and the goodwill of people, we've all got to work together, maybe they would go out of the way to say this in, everybody here knows how emotional situations are, we've all been through the circumstances. maybe employers would do this if they were in that mindset. my kid has changed over the past 20 or 30 years and it's just about the bottom line. we see that in wages not going up for employees while tremendous wealth is being created, and we see it an issue like this where you would think this would be something everybody would want to do. they companies can do this, and they understand, even when trying to value their shareholders, that is good for their shareholders that there employs her happy. that's way they're doing this as
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a policy. some small employees and some of the companies haven't figured that out yet. that's why the role of government, certainly on the democratic side think government has revolted that some of these rough edges that come forth in our wonderful system of capitalism. there's challenges we face in our capitalist society right now, that some people being left behind. families that are being left behind when they can't get a break to take care of their parents, to take care of the kids, to go through a grieving process. they need a break and we're trying to say we've got to do something that everybody in the country is protected, not just a talented, super successful people with employers that are nice people. >> i i share the concern and that's who i am really take the word about here, is the low income people. i've been fortunate i work for people who provided paid family and there a lot of employees who don't work for this companies. i'm more concerned about than having the paid family leave, is
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if that person, low income worker, is working for small employer that simply can't make it on the bottom line, now they're forced to pay higher taxes. in a job loss can put somebody into poverty, they can make them homeless. we want paid family leave. i think everybody who does. but i would really like for us to look at targeting it best to the lower low income people whd it in a way that doesn't make them pay for that leave or higher income people. >> i'm certain talented people of goodwill, if they work together, can address this problem. where hoping you and all of our colleagues can work together to try and solve this problem and addressee from the problem we face in a country. you've all been very persuasive today to highlight how this is a real problem we face in the country. we must do something, and we hope that under the leadership of our chairman we will be able to figure this out. so thank you very much. >> with that when elected as the gentleman from california to inquire.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate this opportunity and also want to thank all the witnesses for your time. more important, preparation. even though you're all experts in in the field i guarantee you each and every one of you prepare for today so thank you very much for that. i represent the central coast of california. obviously with the paid family leave law there i live up to those expectations in implementing it, also implement it in my office. in fact, we just did last year where one of our longtime employees had her second child and we provide her with weeks weeks paid family. when she came back we allowed her to, you know, a little flexible in her hours to be able to go home and provide certain care to the child when necessary. we are proud that because we see how it benefits not just her but it benefits us. it benefits obviously her not just in the short term but it benefits her in the long term with her children, and it
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benefits us in the long term as well because we develop loyalty, as some of you mentioned, in regards to the employees. we are lucky to have her as an employee, and i feel that's the least we can do. ms. gupta, that note, you know what california was the first state in the nation to enact comprehensive paid family and medical leave. we have learned some things along the way. and i know with ms. chu, my peer from california, you mentioned a couple of improvements. could you elaborate as to what lessons that we learned in california along the way, what mistakes were made, and have learned from them, and how we made it better, it's a? >> yes, thank you for that question. again, california has been a tremendous leader and it is been a leader in learning from what it did wrong and where it's improving, and ensuring that there is greater access for low-wage workers, in particular.
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one of the places where it has made improvement is increasing the wage replacement rate. the wage replacement rate was 55% of the workers average weekly wage and they realized that lowest wage workers were unable to benefit from such a low rate. so they've increased it. it is about 70% for low-wage workers and that should help many more low-wage workers be able to access and participate in the program. additionally, starting in 2021, eight family medical leave act can be used for military family needs. again, there is tremendous growth and need for military caregiving. it also eliminates the seven days waiting period, which has been a real hardship for many low income families who need the benefits sooner and can't afford to lose a week of pay.
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another very important piece has been its improvement around outreach and education. as suzi make income that is so critical. workers need to know, especially if they're paying into benefit they need to know they should have access, that they have this benefit and they can access it. education and outreach has been a critical component of california's updates to its program. it's a big lesson for other states because of the states recognize now that if they don't have a robust outreach and education program both for workers and for employers, nobody benefits from the program. yesterday governor newsom announced plans to increase the duration of leaf from six weeks to eight weeks. so again i feel that california has been a real leader and is providing some great lessons for other states and also for our national program. >> definitely, definitely great.
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moving from the employee to the employer, can you describe how small businesses in california have, if they have, become more competitive with larger employers in regards to this? >> while again, i think as i've said before, i think just having the ability to pay, most small businesses can't afford to pay for the full cost of leave. being able to contribute a small amount, like mr. sandkamp said, helped so much more and allows them to actually compete and retain talent so that they can compete with big businesses like google, like apple. it improves staff morale. it ensures greater productivity. so i think that a lot of it is the data we haven't heard, which is that small businesses are struggling. and if anything, that they are benefiting and allowed to remain
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competitive in california's economy. >> outstanding. thank you, ms. gupta. thank you to all the witnesses. thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> let you recognize the gentleman from georgia to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman. to each of you, thank you for your time and for your stories today, and we appreciate it. this is a wonderful opportunity to talk about something that i have lived through. i was a dentist for 25 years, worked with predominantly female staff during that time and i think, i think i had 14 babies born into my practice from staff members and that multiple times where we had employees with sick parents. and i had a practice that was about five folks, okay? i kept about five full-time employees. so when we would have someone go out on maternity leave, it was a real impact on our work, and so we had to learn to be creative and how you addressed the employees needs and the needs of
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the staff to meet the needs of my patients. the one of the concerns that i have as we go down this is, i can tell you each of those children born in a little bit different. each of the experiences of the employees in dealing with a sick parent was a bit different. i would like to have, as an employer, the flexibility to be able to set up various things based on each individual employees needs. i worry about a one-size-fits-all policy. i think that pretty much would limit my ability as an employer to meet the needs of each of my team members. so when i think about this i think about different types of options and different types of solutions on this, because the question isn't whether or not we should be doing this. i think we have all agreed that this is an important part of being a good employer, and it is
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something as we have all said to make sure that your a happy employee. but what if it'd been something different out there where i could've saved as a business proactively for these events? what if there'd been something out there where i could have banked a a certain amount of my profit every year into an account that could be used for this, where i could then use it, use those funds also to be able to go out and buy the right policy for my size business, given the makeup of my employee base? ms. greszler, could you talk about the importance of flexibility for small businesses on this? >> yes. we all agreed that kind of the cost or somebody is priceless of them taking that lead themselves. but we can't pretend that the cost is going to be free for the employer, or if we we're puttig that cost on taxpayers, it is not free for them. there is a real impact.
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in less employees have no value, then their absence is going to be felt. it's going to be felt by the coworkers and the employer left it to find somebody else to fill a position or come up with a way to cover that person being conned. we need to take that into account. i would love to look at other alternative ways that a place can address this aside from senator vitter formalize paid family policy. you could increase the paid time off that's available. i've talked about disability insurance policies. i know some friends of mine who have sick leave pools, so when individual needs to go out they can donate their time toward someone else. looking at ways we can about employers to have that flexibility and not say hey, this one current program is only option available for me. >> yes, thank you for that. with the makeup of my workforce over the years, , my needs probably would've been a lot different than say as mr. maher said, he has predominately male
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dominant workforce. as a relates to maternity leave, those dynamics certainly can be different. i just want the flexibility to be able to do what is right for my employees. and so again i want to thank each of you for your time here today. mr. chairman, i yield back. >> i think the gentleman. what you recognize the gentlelady from florida to inquire. >> thank you, mr. chairman, i thank you to all of the witnesses for your testimony today. i'm really excited we were able to hold this hearing today because paid leave is such an important issue that this committee gets to have jurisdiction over. i think it's an embarrassment that the richest country in the world is the only industrialized nation that does not guarantee any access the paid family and medical leave. i have heard a lot of my colleagues wondered why the federal government should be involved in this at all. and i think the federal government needs to be involved because at some point in our lives we will need to take time
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away from work because of a life event, and this could be an unexpected personal illness or to take care of a family member or just simply the joy that comes from starting a family. i don't think this is an issue that can be left for each state to decide one by one, or be a luxury that only the largest companies can afford to provide. this rings particularly true to me as a mother with young kids. i remember a time when i was a new mom with her growing family in the middle of the job search pursuing a a really exciting jb opportunity. unfortunately, when i asked them what their parentally policy was, i was shocked to learn that the only provide the basic federal standard of 12 weeks unpaid. since my home state of florida doesn't have a paid leave program, this is all that i could have, and what my constituents today can rely on.
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even though the job sounded great on so many levels, i couldn't work somewhere that would leave me without a paycheck for three months while caring for a newborn. what makes this issue so frustrating to me is that i know i was more fortunate than most. i had a job. i had a husband that worked and the healthy young son. i didn't have to accept the offer. there are a lot of women, men and working families that are not so lucky. they don't have a choice and some of them have to take any job that keeps food on the table, keeps the bills paid, or they have to choose between keeping a job and taking care of a newborn or family member. these are choices we should be forcing our constituents to make. they shouldn't have to when the zip code lottery and live in a state with paid leave or be lucky enough to work for a company that provides these benefits. two speaking of companies, i think that businesses really want to provide more for their employees. right now only 17% of workers are covered by an up or program. they know it's good for business
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by increasing worker retention and decreasing turnover costs the most can afford on their own especially small businesses. having a national program would level the playing field with a large companies that can use these benefits to attract talent. this is why i think we need a comprehensive national program to provide for workers across the country and employers of all sizes. it would help close the gender pay gap, i mind would pay gap and increase women's participation in the workforce. paid family and medical leave is a popular and common sense idea that would help working families, small businesses and overall economy. mr. sandkamp, you spoke compellingly about how having the state program impacted your businesses, and specifically your employees. would you be able to provide paid leave for your workers in new jersey if new jersey have not had its own program? >> no way. >> what would you have had to do, otherwise? >> when i think about my employee who left for paternal leave, it would have cost me
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about $7200 while the lead for six weeks, and i couldn't do that. there is no way i would've been able to do that. i lost productivity at the time and it would not have been possible. it's something -- as far i'm on board here, that's one here today. i know that it is something that has a small business owner with five employees, it's something i can handle, that i can have a small deduction from payroll every two weeks and it's not a problem. we've been living that way for ten years and it's worked well. my business is thriving. my employees are happy and i think it's something that we as americans across the country, we should have equal rights. like you say, if you live in the wrong zip code, you don't have equal rights. i think it should be a basic human right. we all have frailties as human beings and we all get sick. >> and i will assume that if the
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cost $7200 to have been able to keep him, it also probably cost you money to onboard so we knew, had you had to lose him? >> yes, at the very moment that i'm having a problem because sighted the person god, i need more money to be able to pay out to that person that's gone. that's the moment that it wouldn't have it. okay, so yes, the next year they give me 25% of the back and a tax credit. that's not something small business owners like myself would be able to do. >> thank thank you, and i yield. >> with that let me recognize the gentleman from california to inquire. >> mr. chairman, thank you for calling today's historic hearing. i want to tell a story about to mike pence i know, socorro and carmelo. like many in this country they work multiple jobs, work five jobs a week to make ends meet. socorro klink of the people's homes during the day and 100 of the people's close at night. carmelo originally came to
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advocate a line cook at a local restaurant years after. one day their seven-year-old son fell l with pneumonia. for some americans pneumonia isn't a a life-changing event, especially if you have a good insurance and an empathetic employee. but that wasn't the case for socorro and carmelo. they were immigrants from mexico who had to provide and care for their six kids. as they gathered in the hospital making sure that somebody was always there to be with her son, they always would think how is this going to impact our family. are we going to be able to maintain both jobs? will we be able to recover? for them, their little boy getting pneumonia nearly cost of everything, even their home that they worked so hard to earn. i'm happy to report their son did pull through, but the stress and trauma of that event, those feelings of hopelessness, uncertainty and instability stayed with socorro and carmelo
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for use after. and i know this because they were my parents, and i was that little boy who got pneumonia when he was seven. my parents story and my story isn't unique. too many family in this country live their lives on a tightrope. one illness, one car accident, and death away from financial bankruptcy. and we want to make sure that those the families are always kept in mind when it comes to any paid family leave program. ms. howard-karp, thank you for your story, because we have to remind people that this is about people, this is about their kids. if you had lost her job, what would've been the impact on your family? >> thank you for sharing your story with us, too. like many working families where balancing the high cost of
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living heating oil and groceries and kids activities and student loans. to suddenly subtract one paycheck would have met very quickly, despite our savings, falling behind on a lot of those things, right? not just the things that are fun and important, like soccer practice and dance classes, a defaulting on her student loans can potentially defaulting on a mortgage. i don't know what the would've taken for us to recover from that, if i had suddenly been without a job. >> and your story is something that i think is repeated. my story, by families story. one of the things that i did, i was also a state assuming them in california and i passed 8908 that increase the weight replacement. because after ten years of studying california, we learned one thing, if people can't afford to take advantage of a program, or if a person is making ends meet barely on 100%
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of their salary, what makes anybody think they can take off five weeks, six weeks, eight weeks, ten weeks at 55% of the salary? they can't. what i'm stressing is when any of these paid some programs that we discussing and how we're negotiating a structure them, that they must take these families, your family, , my famy come into account. the ones that are struggling because those are the ones that oftentimes don't have savings to use. the other component is we want to make sure that people know about it. that's one of the things we've learned in california. oftentimes they don't know about the program. paid family leave is something that everybody is going to use some day, or will need some day, if they have it or not. ms. gupta, what would you say is the number one or number two issues that we should look out for in a paid family program?
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>> i mean, ensuring access is the most critical piece. so we want to make sure that the wage replacement rate is low enough so that low-wage workers can actually access the program -- sorry, have a high enough weight replacement rate. many states are now looking at 90% wage replacement for the lowest wage workers. that is critical. job protection is very critical. i know that outside of the purview of this committee, but workers can't afford to lose the job if they take this necessary time. and then of course access to education and outreach. >> ms. gupta, mr. chairman, thank you so much. >> thank you. let me recognize the gentleman from texas to incorporate his position is try to finish before we go to the floor. if not, i will come back. >> is that the chairman hinting and need to cut my comments short? >> no. the chairman shuster generous
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with time here. >> mr. chairman, thanks for hosting a leading the dialogue year. panels, thank you for your time. i hope you can appreciate this and it is your take with that we are all for family leave benefits and access to the benefits. again, the question is how do we most effectively, most responsibly, and in the most sustainable way offer these benefits to workers? i think the emphasis, especially to me, is on sustainability, because the irony is some of the proposals are adding program to social security, and the solstice could trust fund will be insolvent in 15 years. we haven't even paid for the entitlement programs that we have on the books today. we are 22 trillion in debt and want to add another entire program. not only that, we wanted top ten mandate from washington. last time that happened or we expanded and a ton of it, in fact, the largest expansion of the title but was obamacare. the cost of premiums went from an average of 2800 come to
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$6000. mr. sandkamp you feel that as much as in but at the table. that's a huge cost. mr. kildee mentioned, made the comment of hadi put numbers to lies. ask 50% of americans who, if they had a crisis, it would cost them $500, they couldn't pay it. they would be more than in the poor house, they would up a creek. so it does matter when you're dealing with the reality. we don't deal in reality in washington. it's fantasy. there are lots of things would like to do. we have to ask ourselves, can we afford them? are we going to barmore? are we going to do for more taxes on her kids? i'll tell you the sandwich generation are my children and your children and grandchildren of folks on the dais. they're going to be sandwiched between two very sour pieces of bread, high taxes and that the
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economy, if we keep doing what we're doing in such an irresponsible way. this kooky, i know it's not your fault about the california balance sheet, but we have talked about california's family program. i think the full story to what california has done his best, i think, viewed by the benefits they have given their workers in their public pension program. that is about $150 billion underwater, $150 billion. if you at the state and local public pension program unfunded liability it is $1.5 trillion. i'm not going to hold you to this but do you know how they're going to pay for that? is there a plane you could articulate today? >> i cannot speak to that but -- >> i can speak to either. i don't leave anything on the dice can speak to that. i don't need to cut you off but i've limited time. of course you can't. if that's the way california once to in the business, i respect my colleague who says
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california is a way the country is going to go. i don't think california is always the bright shining example. sometimes it's a harbinger of the bad things that could happen to this country if we don't manage our business responsibly. in fact, since 2007 california has lost on net in the people to other states. they have migrated away from california, a third of them have come to the great state of texas. i'm all for states decide how to want to provide benefits to their workers, to their citizens. i think that laboratory invention is a great system for finding out what is working and how to make it work best, and how to design it for your citizens. i think private employers certainly can design things better than the federal government to meet the needs of their employees. i think that is the approach we ought to take. i like the fact we are providing
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incentives to employers and to employees for the third purpose. mr. sandkamp, you said you didn't have to do this but you did it. you said you did it because it was good for your business, right? it was good because the cost of replacement is high, correct? >> a new jersey disability and family leave act is a -- >> but you did a voluntarily. >> you mean to become -- >> you added the family benefits to your employees voluntarily. >> it's a payroll deduction for all employees. all of all my employees have a l deduction. >> well, you think it's in the best interest of the company to offer that because of the replacement cost, because of the incentives and retention? >> for all those reasons. i think it sounds like the whole panel is in agreement that we want paid family leave. >> we do, and just one view. if you like a state plan, keep it. and if you liked or employer-based plan, keep it. it's going exponentially at a think we ought to do more from
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the federal government to incentivize that behavior from the bottom up, not top-down. thank you, mr. chairman. i just back. >> with that let me recognize the gentleman from nevada and they would recognize mr. reid. >> thank you very much, mr. chat hearing. with all due respect to the previous speak, my colleague from taxes, solstice could is not entirely. it is a trust fund that is been earned by those who pay into it over the lifetime. i think making any comparison to it is just not accurate. i'd like to talk about what this is, family act. we are asking businesses to contribute to pennies for every ten dollars in wages, or two dollars a week. that is what we are asking. as as a former small business or myself, having to address a balance sheet, i know there are tough choices that have to be made. but balancing the interests of
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your employees, the people will actually produce and provide the services that allow businesses to do well, is part of the social contract that we have had in this country and that part of this bill is hoping to address. we have enormous income inequality in this country. people can't even make it today with the paycheck, let alone when there is an illness for themselves, a family member, or a loved one that they have to take care of. and so i agree with my colleague, victor gomez, who said we need to focus on what this is about, which is people. -- mr. gomez. in my state of nevada according to national partnership for women and families, even unpaid leave under the federal family and medical leave act is an
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accessible for 63% of working people. they can't afford to take off work, and that is why we need the family act. we need it for leslie, a constituent of mine from las vegas who is a 35-year-old single mother who reached out to me to share her experience without paid leave. she shared with me that in 2015 she was an expectant mother working for a government entity on a part-time basis, which meant she did not have any benefit. she was enrolled in the affordable care act was able to continue working until she began having life-threatening complications with her pregnancy. her son arrived two months early and had to stay in the neonatal intensive care unit for the first two months of his life. he was born with a hole in his heart, a nerve disorder, and severely clubbed feet. after two long months they were finally both in better health
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and leslie returned to work starting a new full-time job that provide more stability and some benefits. and while she found herself gainfully employed full-time, something that should've offered her and her new baby security, her new job still came without any paid time off. so when leslie had to take nasir the necessary doctrine physical therapy appointments, she had no choice to miss work, which met missing out on vital in, that she desperately needed to keep the lights on and the food on the table. and she tells it, quote, my life felt like an endless roller coaster of stress and anxiety. it seemed as though i was always faced with the most difficult choices. how do you choose? do i lose days pay and hope my supervisor understands? do i miss the doctor's
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appointment my son needs to grow healthy and survive? that's no choice for any parent to have to make. ms. gupta, what are the positive impacts of passing paid family and medical leave legislation for our most vulnerable citizens? >> anti-semites. it is exactly as you said. it will increase access to low income workers which will make sure that they can stay employed. but at the same time it will ensure that they have the economic security to provide for their families, and also ensure the health and well-being of their families. it will level the playing field for small businesses. so all of that will not only improve the well-being of families, but the overall economy. >> ninety. ms. howard-karp, what would be the continued cost to families and businesses if we do not act to pass this legislation? >> it just comes down to the impossible choice that we've been talking about, which is we
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continue to put people in the situation everyday of having to choose between the health and even the lives of the family members, or their ability to continue paying the bills. >> i think the gentleman. mr. reid is recognized for an abbreviated presentation. >> yes, and i know we have votes. i appreciate that, mr. chairman, and/or panels. quickly, i think the broad agreement on the test when today, paid leave benefits is something republicans and democrats tend to support. the question is how to pay for it and how to do it. the question i have for ms. greszler is, if we do this with a payroll tax administered by the government, and it is a a .4% payroll tax that is being proposed, under know their estimates that that is woefully inadequate to cover the exposure. exposure. who was left holding the bag to make up for the benefits that are created under this law is that .4% payroll tax doesn't cover the expenditure? >> unfortunate, i think that's
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future generations. that is my 16 kids who i'm just going to tackle women in the backpacks that the pile on of that date everyday. i don't want a program that would make make my children for me able to take care for the. >> so sensual future children, puke, future taxpayers as was present taxpayers. those are taxpayers about some magic of a pot of money that is not the taxpayers money. if we bet wrong on this there is huge exposure there. if we did with a private insurance policy that you could purchase through your business, and it may actually be cheaper than the two since some assessments i've seen are at 50% cost, maybe a penny and we pursue that. if the benefit actually is wrong who's left holding the bag then is it the taxpayer or is that the private company that's fronting those policies? >> if it's a privately purchase policy, that's the private company. >> ivery interested in finding a solution to this but i'm very sensitive of going down this
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path with payroll tax stuff because, does a panel, are you where my colleagues on the other side are proposing a 2. percent payroll tax to cover the social security insolvency issue? anyone over at that? yes? i think the panel is indicating yes come in agreement. this is an additional payroll tax on existing payroll tax payer -- that are being proposed by the of the second and that is very troublesome to me, as the ranking the social security pursue. thank you. >> we thank the gentleman. i want i want to thank eyewitner the testimony. please be advised that members have two weeks to the board their written questions to be answered leader in writing. those questions and answers will be made part of the formal hearing record. and with that, the committee stands adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
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[inaudible conversations] >> take a look at some of our primetime programming this evening. weeknights this month we are featuring booktv program showcasing what's available every weekend here on c-span2. the nights game is political history.
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>> tonight on "the communicators," cnbc cybersecurity reporter on her book "kingdom of lies" about the world of cyber crime. >> if we want to understand what all of these things are happening to us, whether it is the exploitation of the
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algorithms that run twitter and facebook in order to help the russian intelligence agency influence an election, or the ransomware that is now taken down big cities like baltimore and atlanta, we have to understand the people who are behind these things. .. sharon robinson talks about her book child of the dream. rick atkinson, author of the british are coming and thomas
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malone, founding director of the mit centerfor collective intelligence discusses his book super mines . the national book festival live saturday at 10 am eastern on book tv on cspan2. >> the house will be in order . >> for 40 years, c-span has been providing america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events from washington dc and around the country so you can make upyour own mind. created bycable in 1979, c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span : your unfiltered view of government . >> and now the house foreign affairs subcommittee on global health looks at the recent evil outbreak in the democratic republic of congo.
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according to the world health organization more than 2000 people have been infected by the virus. the outbreak was declared in august 2018 and has killed more than 1300 people. witnesses include officials from the us agency for international development and the center for diseasecontrol and prevention . this is over an hour and 20 minutes . >> good afternoon everyone. this hearing for the subcommittee on africa, global health, human rights and international organizations will come to order. the subcommittee is meeting today to hear testimony on eradicating evil love, building on lessons learned and medical advancements . i want to thank everyone including our witnesses for your patience . we had a series of votes and other members will be joining us shortly but we are joined


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