October 7, 2019 / 4:34 PM / 4 months ago

Democrat Harris would offer six months of paid family leave

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) listens to a question from moderator Craig Melvin during a forum held by gun safety organizations the Giffords group and March For Our Lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. October 2, 2019. REUTERS/Steve Marcus

(Reuters) - Democratic Presidential hopeful Kamala Harris would provide Americans with up to six months of paid family leave to bond with a new child or to take care of other personal or family medical issues, her campaign said on Monday.

The proposal is part of a broad “Children’s Agenda” set to be released by Harris at an appearance at an elementary school in Iowa on Monday.

U.S. workers have the right under current law to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for new babies or help ill family members, but Harris’ plan would enlarge those protections, providing paid leave and guaranteeing it for a wider variety of situations.

Under her plan, workers could receive paid leave to care for medical and non-medical needs when a child or dependent has been a victim of domestic violence, harrassment, sexual assault or stalking. It defines as family members not just children but parents, grandparents, siblings, in-laws and “chosen family,” people who may not be related by blood but consider themselves to be family nonetheless.

Harris’s plan would be paid for with a combination of payroll contributions by employers and employees, as well as the proceeds of fines levied on corporations for paying women less than men or ethnic minorities less than white employees, according to the proposal. Additional funds would come from tax increases on the top 1% of earners and on corporations, her campaign said.

Reporting by Sharon Bernstein in Sacramento, California; editing by Richard Pullin

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