FMLA Articles

Paid leave removed from the Build Back Better plan


Key to remember:  Originally, the President’s Build Back Better program included 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave. During the course of bargaining, however, that provision was dropped. Could it be reinstated?

Applies to: Employers

Impact to customers: Employers who have been waiting to see if they needed to begin planning to provide the paid leave may stop waiting – for now.

Some employers might heave a sigh of relief knowing that the President’s $1.75 million Build Back Better domestic policy plan no longer includes a provision entitling employees to paid leave. Provisions that remain include health care, childcare, and climate change. The provision was cut, however, because not enough Senate Democrats supported it.

Originally, the paid leave plan would phase in over 10 years, ending up with full-time workers being entitled to take up to 12 weeks off for reasons reflecting the current FMLA:

  • The employee’s own serious health condition,
  • Birth/bonding,
  • Caring for a family member, or
  • Addressing issues arising from a family member’s military deployment or serious injury.

Unlike the current FMLA, however, the proposal also allowed leave for sexual assault, stalking, or domestic violence. Finally, it included three days of paid bereavement leave following the death of an immediate family member.

Family members included spouses, parents, guardians, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws, and any other association by blood or affinity that is equivalent to a family relationship. This list is much more generous than the FMLA’s list of parents, children, and spouses.

Employees were to receive up to $4,000 a month in paid leave, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers.

Many employers took advantage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which allowed for paid time off for reasons related to the virus, but the tax benefits expired on September 30, 2021.

While this particular push for paid leave could be over, members of Congress have indicated that they will continue to try to get something done, including getting paid leave of some form put back into the plan if new deals can be reached. For today, however, the FMLA is the only federal law governing employee leave.

This article was written by Darlene M. Clabault, SHRM-CP, PHR, CLMS, of J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. The content of these news items, in whole or in part, MAY NOT be copied into any other uses without consulting the originator of the content.


The J. J. Keller LEAVE MANAGER service is your business resource for tracking employee leave and ensuring compliance with the latest Federal and State FMLA and leave requirements.