Donald Trump hasn't always been the most supportive of working women, but earlier this week he started to change his tune. In a speech on Tuesday night, Trump laid out a plan on two of the issues most crucial to working women: maternity leave and child care.
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 Donald Trump stands on maternity leave and child care. And if you want to know what his opponent Hillary Clinton has to say on it, you can check out her platform here.
Trump would provide six weeks of paid leave for new mothers.Trump’s plan would expand unemployment insurance to include six weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers. The plan doesn’t say precisely how much of their pay women would be entitled to receive during those weeks.
Trump would pay for the policy by eliminating fraud and improper payments in unemployment insurance, a change that could potentially save more than $3 billion a year. However, providing paid leave to the United States’ millions of working women would likely far exceed that amount. An analysis from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated his opponent Hillary Clinton's proposal of 12 weeks of paid leave to cost $300 billion over a decade — 10 times more than Trump's proposed budget.
Also, the fact that Trump's plan would apply only to women and only to those who don’t have employer-provided maternity leave has left some worried that it would create conditions in which employers would discriminate against hiring women, as well as incentivize employers to end their own maternity leave programs and let the government pick up the bill.
Parents could write the cost of child care off on their taxes.Under Trump’s plan, families could write off the cost of child care for up to four children under the age of 13, at the average cost of care in the state. The policy could be applied to a number of different types of child care, including after-school programs, private schools, or enrichment activities. In a nod to families caring for other family members, his plan would also allow for a deduction of up to $5,000 for the cost of elder care.
The plan may not, unfortunately, do much in terms of immediate aid to low-income families, who would still have to pay for child-care costs out of pocket and wait for tax season to see aid.
Trump’s plan would encourage parents to save for their children’s future, but it may not help those who need the money most.The Trump plan would exempt dependent-care savings accounts from taxes, encouraging families to plan for the future regarding child and elder care. Immediate family members and employers would be able to contribute to the accounts, up to $2000 per year. The government would match donations at 50% up to $1000.
However, savings accounts may not help those in low-wage work, who often need every penny to make ends meet. Nearly 1 in 5 working mothers of young children are employed in jobs that make less than $10.10 an hour, according to the National Women’s Law Center. NPR also points out that the government contribution could amount to as much as $25 billion per year, and the Trump campaign doesn't address how they would fund it.