Trump’s Paid Maternity Leave Policy Falls Short, Could Impose Unknown Costs on Small Business Owners

Small business owners are overlooked by a policy proposal that would likely increase employer costs while failing to provide adequate coverage.

Although a universal paid family and medical leave program could provide a significant benefit for many small business owners, Mr. Trump’s plan misses the mark. Under Mr. Trump’s maternity leave plan, small business owners would likely bear the cost of a policy that doesn’t do enough to address the real needs of their employees.

Mr. Trump’s plan offers only limited six weeks of paid maternity leave, with no benefit for non-birth parents (fathers, partners and adoptive parents). The plan also does not provide coverage for care of a family member who is elderly or ill.  By offering only a short recovery period for recovering mothers and omitting care time for sick relatives all together, Mr. Trump’s proposal leaves the small business owners on Main Street in a familiar position. The responsibility for developing and funding necessary family care for employees would continue to fall on them. Paid family and medical leave is a critical program that can allow small employers to recruit and retain valuable team members and measure up to offerings of their competitors.  

Mr. Trump also claims that his maternity care plan can be paid through unemployment insurance. He claims the added cost of the benefit would be covered by eliminating waste and abuse in the unemployment insurance system and through the use of spending rebates in the Earned Income Tax Credit for lower-income families. The policy lacks coherence and clarity and potentially threatens an already under-resourced unemployment insurance system.

Main Street business owners have criticized both the plan’s limited coverage for parental and medical leave and are wary that the plan will not provide the relief they need as employers:

“The idea that the policy applies to women only is both sexist and anti-family. It flies in the face of the modern construct of family and shows just how out of touch Trump is with the middle class,” said Molly Moon Neitzel, the owner of Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream with seven locations in Seattle. “This policy does so little to help employees that I would still have to foot the bill for a private policy while contributing to the unknown costs of Trump’s shortsighted and outdated policy. “

“As a business owner with first-hand experience with a government paid family leave policy here in New Jersey, I see Trump’s proposal as a significant step backward. It fails to address the critical need for family medical leave insurance for employees and business owners to recover from an illness or care for a sick loved one,” said Tony Sandkamp, the owner of Sandkamp Woodworks in Jersey City."