What Has Hillary Clinton Said About Paid Leave?

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.
Hillary Clinton has made no secret of her commitment to women's issues. And one of the big ones? Paid leave.

According to Department of Labor statistics, only 12% of U.S. private sector workers — male or female — have access to paid family leave through their employer. Despite the dearth, the department says that paid leave is beneficial to the economy, allowing women to remain in the workforce after giving birth and boosting economic growth.

So, what do the presidential candidates have to say about it? Here's where Clinton stands on maternity leave and child care. And if you want to know what her opponent Donald Trump has to say on it, you can check out his stances here.

Clinton supports 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave — regardless of gender.

Clinton wants to guarantee everyone an income in times of medical emergency and new parenthood, for both mothers and fathers. She promises to enforce up to three months of paid family and medical leave at two-thirds of current wages, allowing workers to take time for pregnancy, illness, or to care for relatives. Notably, her proposal applies to both women and men, who are often left out of the discussion around parental leave.

Under the current system, employers are only required to give 12 weeks unpaid, and even then, only if a worker has been with an employer for at least a year and if the company has more than 50 workers. According to a 2012 Department of Labor study, only about 59% of workers meet the conditions, leaving the remaining 41% with no guarantee of leave.

Clinton proposes paying for the plan with an increase in taxes on the wealthy, which she promises will not affect families making less than $250,000 a year. Some critics worry that plan will leave the policy vulnerable to insolvency in the future, if tax codes or budget policies change.

She wants to cap the cost of child care.

For families who already have children, Clinton wants to make it easier to care for them. She advocates increasing government investment in child-care subsidies to limit the amount that families pay, to a maximum of 10% of their income, which will be done via a combination of federal subsidies and tax credits. Additionally, Clinton would make government-funded preschool universal, giving all young children an equal academic start and reducing the amount of time for which families would have to find alternate care.

While the average cost of child care for families with working mothers varies state by state, it can hit low-income families hardest. According to the Pew Research Center, families with monthly incomes of less than $1,500 spent almost 40% of their income on child care in 2011.

“Right now, in many states, child care is more expensive than college tuition. That is just a shocking figure,” Clinton said in a campaign speech in Louisville, KY, in May. She said that it puts parents in an “impossible position” on how to provide care for their children.

She wants to make it easier for parents in school.

Clinton proposes a number of ways to ease the burden on student parents, from giving financial scholarships to parents in college, to helping provide child care while they study. Clinton’s higher education policy includes scholarships for up to 1 million student parents, for up to $1,500, which could be used to fund child care or financial aid. She would also increase funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program from its current $15 million budget to a quarter of a billion dollars, expanding the program to an estimated additional 250,000 kids.

Clinton proposes to pay for both policies through her New College Compact, which would expand taxes and close loopholes for households earning more than $250,000 a year.

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