2025 federal budget includes paid leave


Would a federal law streamline leave administration for multi-state employers?

On March 11, President Biden revealed his 2025 budget proposal, which includes paid leave.

As in years past, this is only a proposal. Any related legislation would need to come from Congress, which has failed to enact past measures. The proposal does, however, illustrate a continuing movement toward paid leave at the federal level.

What does the proposal include?

The budget proposes a national, comprehensive paid family and medical leave program, providing up to 12 weeks of leave to allow eligible workers to take time off to:

  • Care for and bond with a new child;
  • Care for a seriously ill loved one;
  • Heal from their own serious illness;
  • Address circumstances arising from a loved one’s military deployment; or
  • Find safety from domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.

Does this proposal mirror FMLA?

These leave reasons under the proposal resemble the current federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which provides for unpaid leave. The budget, however, also includes safe leave (domestic violence, assault, or stalking) and bereavement leave.

Employees, for instance, would be able to take up to three days of paid leave to grieve the death of a loved one. Some states, such as Illinois, offer this type of leave already. Bereavement leave, however, typically falls under company policies, which employers aren’t required to offer, and if they do, the scope of the leave varies.

The President also calls on Congress to require employers to provide seven job-protected paid sick days each year to all workers.

If enacted, the Social Security Administration would administer the federal paid leave.

Most states have some form of leave law, and, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, 13 states and the District of Columbia have paid family and medical leave laws. States continue to add and expand paid leave provisions, and at some point, Congress might decide to follow suit.

This patchwork of leave laws creates challenges for employers, particularly those with employees working in multiple states. A federal law might help make things easier for employers in some ways, but it would also pose its own obstacles.

Key to Remember: The President’s 2025 budget calls for paid leave, but its approval will depend on negotiations, compromises, and the political climate in Congress.

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.


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