Ivanka Trump spoke on behalf of her father before the 2016 election and said that if Donald Trump were elected President of the United States, all people qualifying for paid family leave would receive it. The then future President Trump said the program “would pay for itself” (though many were and are still unsure what he meant by that). Fast forward two years, and this promise has not been fulfilled.
Empty Promises on the 2016 Campaign Trail?
In September 2016, Ivanka’s exact words at a rally for her father were, “My father’s policy will give paid leave to mothers whose employers are among the almost 90 percent of U.S. business that currently do not offer this benefit.” Donald Trump piggybacked his daughter’s claims with the promise that he would provide the benefit, himself: “…provide six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit” and he would be able to do that “by recapturing fraud and improper payments in the unemployment insurance program.” Even the Trump campaign website included this promise, but added that this program excluded only fathers and adoptive parents.
Since these promises were made to the American people, there have been paid family leave policies in budget proposals, but no action has been taken and the Republican-controlled Congress ignored the policies. In August 2018, Senator Marco Rubio offered up a family leave bill that would allow working parents to access a small portion of their Social Security benefits early to give the impression of something like paid family leave but not at all, really. How does dipping into your Social Security early resemble paid family leave? It doesn’t.
Family Leave in the President’s Businesses
Trump’s own businesses fall short on paid family leave for employees. His daughter, who was an executive at the Trump Organization, said that the company provided paid family leave to all of its workers, but that was proven untrue. Instead, the Trump Organization complied with the Family Medical Leave Act, which requires that employers allow their employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, but it did not provide the paid family leave to its employees in its hotels and properties.
The United States is one of only nine countries in the United Nations that does not offer paid leave for new mothers. Most Americans need to continue working outside the home after having a child and, at this time, if your employer does not provide this paid leave, you simply have to figure it out yourself.