President Biden Calls for Paid Family Leave in Address to Congress

In April 2021, during his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden (D) unveiled the American Families Plan that calls for up to 12 weeks of paid FMLA.


May 13, 2021

In April 2021, during his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Joe Biden (D) unveiled the American Families Plan. The plan calls for Congress to pass a paid family leave law that would provide up to 12 weeks of pay through a government- run program. Below is a summary and comparison between President Biden’s proposal with the leading congressional proposal.

Paid Family Leave

In many ways, President Biden’s plan is similar to the Family Act, a paid family leave bill first introduced in 2013 and in each Congress thereafter, with a few noted exceptions. See below for more information.

Provisions American Families Plan Family Act

Leave start date

  • Phased in over 10 years. In year 1, provide 3 days of bereavement leave
  • Unclear start date



Up to 12 weeks

Up to 12 weeks


  • Same purposes as FMLA
  • Beyond FMLA, providing leave for “safe time” (due to sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence) and bereavement

Same purposes as FMLA

Benefit Amount

  • Minimum of 2/3 of wages and up to 80% for lowest wage workers
  • Up to $4,000 max per month
  • 2/3 of wages
  • Up to $4,000 max per month and minimum of $580

Job protection

Does not address


Preemption of state and local requirements

Unclear/does not address

  • No
  • Would coordinate benefits under the plan with state/local benefits


  • Internal estimate of $225 billion over 10 years
  • Increase of income tax rate on highest income earners and increased taxes on capital gains/dividends


President Biden’s proposal, along with the Family Act, would need to gain bipartisan support to be enacted. Currently, only Democrats are cosponsoring the Family Act. In the 116th Congress, Republicans introduced legislation that would provide people with early social security payments for birth/adoption, but so far it has not been re-introduced in the 117th Congress. The Business Group is monitoring paid leave proposals.

We provide this material for informational purposes only; it is not a substitute for legal advice.

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