Houlahan-Led Paid Family Leave Working Group Completes Six-Part Capitol Hill Briefing Series, Prepares for Next Steps
The first-of-its-kind bipartisan Paid Family Leave Working Group turns to preparing policy proposals to announce later this year.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representatives Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Stephanie Bice (R-OK) highlighted the progress of their bipartisan Paid Family Leave Working Group. Since launching in January, the first-of-its-kind group has held six Member-level meetings with policy and business experts. The meetings, mostly closed to the press, covered a range of topics and helped the working group explore possible legislative initiatives.
“Too many families across America continue to face an impossible choice – caring for a newborn child or earning a paycheck,” said Houlahan. “Whether we are helping those trying to raise a family or look after a sick family member, expanded paid leave continues to be a promising step in the right direction. However, this conversation can’t happen in a vacuum, which is why our bipartisan Paid Family Leave Working Group is seeking input from both business leaders and advocacy organizations. I’m heartened by our progress so far and look forward to continued collaboration to give more Americans access to paid leave.”
“Paid family leave remains a major priority as we continue working to support American families,” said the Paid Family Leave Working Group members. “Our bipartisan approach reflects our commitment to finding enduring solutions, and we look forward to sharing what we’ve learned and our recommendations for next steps.”
A summary of the six meetings to date can be found below.
· History of Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA): On February 7, 2023, the working group was joined by former Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) and former Republican HELP Committee Staffer Stephanie Monroe – both individuals who were instrumental in passing FMLA 30 years ago. Pictures.
· Lessons Learned from Successful State-Level Paid Leave Efforts: On March 28, 2023, representatives from Colorado, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington, and the District of Columbia briefed the working group on their successful efforts to enact paid leave legislation. Read more.
· Hearing from Private Insurance Industry: On April 18, 2023, various insurance companies came to Capitol Hill to discuss the role they might play in implementing paid leave policies. Read more.
· Convening Small Business Leaders: On May 11, 2023, nearly a dozen leaders in the small business sector shared their hopes and concerns about the impact of a federal paid leave policy on staffing and operating costs.
· Large Employers and Trade Association Collaboration: On July 18, 2023, the working group hosted large companies such as The Home Depot and IBM, alongside trade associations, to discuss their current paid leave policies and how a federal framework might operate. Pictures.
· Intersection of Caregiving and Paid Leave: On September 28, 2023, the working group held their sixth and final fact-finding meeting to talk about how related issues like childcare and senior care affect the paid leave landscape.
Following the six-part briefing series, Member-level conversations will begin on a legislative framework to put forward in the coming months.
The bipartisan Paid Family Leave Working Group is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Members include Co-Chairs Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) and Stephanie Bice (R-OK) and Representatives Colin Allred (D-TX), Mariannette Miller-Meeks, M.D. (R-IA), Hayley Stevens (D-MI), and Julia Letlow (R-LA). Following the creation of House working group, the Senate stood up a similar bipartisan group dedicated to advancing paid leave policies for more Americans.
Earlier this year, the group also sent a letter to then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy, urging consideration of paid leave legislation during the 118th Congress.
Reps. Miller-Meeks, Bice, Houlahan, and Stevens (L to R) speak at the launch of the working group in January, co-hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center and Engage.
Reps. Letlow, Bice, Houlahan, Allred, and Stevens (center to R) hear from former Senator Chris Dodd (L) at the working group’s first meeting in February.
Reps. Bice, Allred, Houlahan, and Letlow (center-L to center-R) stand with leaders from the small business sector following their May meeting.
Reps. Houlahan, Bice, and Miller-Meeks (L to R) meet on October 26 to discuss next steps.