Senator Marco Rubio today rolled out a plan to provide "a 25% non-refundable tax credit for businesses that voluntarily offer at least four weeks of paid family leave, limited to twelve weeks of leave and $4,000 per employee each year."
From Mr. Rubio's prepared remarks:
I believe we can fix this problem by creatively applying our free enterprise principles in a way that encourages businesses to choose to offer more paid family leave.
To do this, I will provide a limited 25% non-refundable tax credit to any business that offers between four and twelve weeks of paid leave. For instance, if you are offered $1,600 in paid leave for four weeks while you take care of your newborn, which would be the equivalent of about $10 an hour, your employer could claim a tax credit for $400.
This won't solve every scheduling conflict between work and family life. No policy can. But it will help ensure that our people don't have to sit behind a desk while the most profound moments of their lives pass them by. And it will help our businesses expand and create new jobs by allowing them to keep more of their money rather than send it to Washington.
Conservatives are already fighting hard on this issue. Senator Deb Fischer has been a leader on family leave reform, and I'm glad to join her efforts as one way to address the problem. Unfortunately, our current president prefers not to sign legislation that is commonsense, so these efforts will likely be something I need to take up as president.
A fact sheet says:
Marco's plan is:
Adaptable to all employee arrangements, including part-time work.
Available for new parents; caretakers of sick parents, spouses, and children; and military families.
Based on the Strong Families Act, introduced by Senators Deb Fischer (R-NE) and Angus King (I-ME).
Whatever the virtue of this plan may be in supporting families without imposing mandates on businesses, there is also a downside. This proposal would add complexity to an already extremely complex federal tax code. It also cedes the principle that the tax code should be used as a tool to encourage desirable behavior by individuals or businesses — "social engineering through the tax codes," as critics call it — rather than simply as a means of raising, as efficiently as possible, the revenue required to fulfill the minimum needs of the federal government's constitutional obligated duties.