“Too many parents are forced to choose between losing time with a new child or taking on debt to make up for lost wages. Arizona’s working families deserve better. Our bipartisan bill does not raise taxes or harm Social Security, and represents an important first step, offering parents a new option to finance time off of work or help pay for childcare.”
A new, first-of-its-kind plan announced by Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema represents the first bipartisan proposal to provide paid parental leave for working families. Sinema partnered with Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana to develop the plan, which would allow families to receive support after the birth or adoption of a new child to finance time off of work, offset the cost of infant care, or both.
The bipartisan proposal allows parents to advance $5,000 from their Child Tax Credit upon the birth or adoption of a child. Today, parents can claim a yearly Child Tax Credit of up to $2,000 for each child under age 17. Under Sinema and Cassidy’s plan, parents would have the option to claim $5,000 for the first year of birth or adoption of a child—and, in exchange for the $5,000 benefit, parents would reduce their yearly Child Tax Credit by $500 over each of the following 10 years.
The Senators’ plan is bipartisan, does not increase taxes, creates no new entitlements, includes no new mandates on employers, and does not impact Social Security. The plan also provides families with the flexibility to decide how to use the benefit, including helping offset the cost of quality infant care—which in Arizona can total nearly as much as the cost of one year at a public state university.
The new parental benefit offered by the Senators’ proposal would be optional, with decisions made entirely by new parents. For instance, parents who already receive paid leave through their employer or state could continue to do so, forgoing the new benefit and continuing to receive their full yearly Child Tax Credit.
Low-income families that do not qualify for the full, refundable Child Tax Credit could, under the Senators’ bipartisan plan, claim a benefit adjusted to 100 percent wage replacement for 12 weeks of work. For those families, the proposal also extends the 10-year repayment schedule to 15 years.