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CEOs Call on Congress, Trump to Enact Federal Paid Family Leave

Dec. 12, 2019, 2:00 PM

The heads of companies that employ over 15 million workers want a national paid family and medical leave plan so that employees can take time off for an illness, a new child, or to care for a family member.

The Business Roundtable, representing leading companies from the technology, pharmaceutical, financial, and retail sectors—including PepsiCo. Inc., Johnson & Johnson, and Apple Inc.—sent letters Dec. 12 to congressional leaders and President Donald Trump on behalf of the group’s members to “act promptly to address these serious needs of workers and ensure benefits of this kind are available for more Americans.”

The Business Roundtable is chaired by Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Specifically, the group wants to see a federal plan that includes uniform standards that apply to all covered employees and adhere to Family and Medical Leave Act requirements. In addition, paid family leave legislation should ensure that employers meet all minimum requirements, and provide them flexibility in how they manage paid family and medical leave benefits for their employees.

Eight states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to implement paid family and medical leave programs. Details on funding, eligibility, and compliance vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, frustrating employers with workers in cities and states across the U.S.

Democrats in Congress are pushing the social insurance model for paid family and medical leave at the federal level, but haven’t yet achieved a mark-up or a vote on the plan. Republican federal plans for paid family leave have focused on leave for new parents, and require advances of either Social Security benefits or child tax credit funds.

The letter comes just as the White House Dec. 12 hosts a summit to discuss a path forward to better support families, including increased access to affordable child care and paid family leave.

“While most Business Roundtable companies provide very generous paid leave, there is a need for economy-wide action; fewer than 17 percent of workers have access to paid family leave through their employers, and fewer than 41 percent of private sector workers have medical or short-term disability leave,” Ginni Rometty, chairman and CEO of IBM Corp., said in the letters.

To contact the reporter on this story: Genevieve Douglas in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Martha Mueller Neff at; Jay-Anne B. Casuga at