We are two moms from Oklahoma and Brooklyn. A couple weeks back, we delivered a petition to both Trump and Clinton campaign headquarters. We are from different parts of the political map, but our cause is one near and dear to many American families, no matter their politics: paid parental leave.
If you’re like most parents, you probably don’t have much time to go to a candidate’s website and sift through policy. You probably can’t hear the stump speech on the news over the sounds of the pre-bedtime antics. So here’s a boiled-down version of what we’ve learned.
Both candidates have now come out with a plan for paid parental leave. America has been lacking a policy for decades, to the point that it’s become not only ridiculous (and ridiculed by the rest of the world), but also damaging to the wellbeing of our children, the health of our families, and our economy. We are glad to see that in this election the voices of families are finally being heard. It’s been a long time since that happened in this country.
That being said, American families cannot afford to accept anything less than a concrete and substantial proposal. No matter if you are a Republican or Democrat family, it’s time to vote on this issue.
Here’s what you need to know.
Mr. Trump’s plan offers six weeks paid parental leave. Trump has mentioned that he leaves the childcare to Melania – that may be the reason he doesn’t realize that a six-week old baby cannot yet lift its own head. Parents know that is not enough time – a recent poll showed that Americans think four months paid leave, for a mom or a dad, should be the minimum.
Trump’s policy applies to mothers only. While we are the first to give credit where credit is due – this marks the first time paid leave has been part of the Republican platform in an election, which is huge progress – Trump’s plan is unfortunately more suitable to a bygone era, or for families with different economic realities than most of us face today. This is why: in 2016, two out of three dads say they want an equal role in raising their children. And 40 percent of working women are the household breadwinners.
We can’t let another four years go by. Do not miss this chance to raise our voice for our families. Go to the polls and vote for our kids.
Passing a paid leave plan that only applies to mothers – or that leaves out families that don’t look like the archetypal family of 1950 ― simply leaves out too many children. Every baby, no matter what gender their parent is, or which parent is the breadwinner, needs the option of having their parent care for them at the beginning of life.
Then, there is the question of how it will be paid for. The funding for Mr. Trump’s plan comes from our unemployment insurance program. That’s problematic for two reasons: the stipend he is proposing would not be enough for most families to cover their costs. And further, it’s difficult to believe that taking from the unemployed would be a stable source of funding. We need to look to a more reliable form of funding that will never put our kids in jeopardy of losing this valuable time with their parent. Paid leave should be a priority, not an afterthought.
All in all, Mr. Trump’s plan represents a giant leap for the Republican party, but only one tiny step for America. And we are behind by leaps and bounds. It won’t get us where we need to be.
What about Secretary Clinton’s plan? We’d like it to go further, but the details are clearer, and more promising. At 12 weeks, it provides double the time Trump is offering. And it would apply not just to mothers, but also to fathers, and any American who needs to take time off to care for an ill family member. This is much more reflective of what our families today look like, and what they need to survive.
But speaking of survival, paid leave has to be enough to cover the bills temporarily. Secretary Clinton’s plan allows parents or family members on leave to get at least two-thirds of their wages, up to a ceiling. Of course this doesn’t come cheap. Clinton’s plan is to raise taxes on the top income earners to fund her program. We are relieved to know working families wouldn’t be given more tax burdens. Regardless the source, it’s time to start using some of what the IRS collects to help our families and children thrive.
So parents, and future parents. Grandparents for that matter. Any who care about the state of our economy and the health of our tiniest citizens and future taxpayers: this is a confusing, stressful election. But this issue is clear: you can vote for the candidate who offers your family some well-deserved relief. We endorse Hillary Clinton for president.
We don’t come to this decision lightly, or by favoring one political party over another. It’s simply the better policy. Further, as First Lady, Secretary Clinton helped win the fight for FMLA, and as a senator in New York she fought to expand it to include wounded soldiers. Her track record is one of fighting for the rights of children, and this is one of the biggest fights she’ll have on her hands yet. We need a leader who has shown they are with our families.
We can’t let another four years go by. Do not miss this chance to raise our voice for our families. Go to the polls and vote for our kids. And if you’re worried about these promises being kept, we can assure you, there are two determined mothers in Brooklyn and Oklahoma who will hold her to her word.
Amber Scorah + Ali Dodd