What does Senator U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand—an outspoken proponent of a creating national paid family leave policy—think about President Trump's paid leave proposal?
“I'm grateful that President Trump is willing to talk about paid leave but his policy unfortunately is woefully inadequate,” the New York Democrat tells Fortune's deputy digital editor Kristen Bellstrom.
Gillibrand explains the policy proposed by the Trump administration covers only parental leave, as opposed to a wider range of life events, such as paid time for employees who must care for sick family members. She also points out that the suggested means to pay for the plan is not realistic. “To expect states to pay for this out of unemployment insurance really just means it’s not being paid for, and it means it’s not going to happen,” she says.
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Even though Trump is diverging from the traditional Republican stance by advocating for paid parental leave, the limited scope of the six-week paid plan would in fact place the U.S. measures among the worst when compared with those of other OECD countries.
“I would be grateful if the president could focus on a real paid-leave plan, like the one I’ve written with Congresswoman DeLauro,” Gillibrand says. In February, the two lawmakers reintroduced the Family And Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act, which would create a shared fund to make paid leave affordable to all employers. “It’s not expensive if it’s a national policy, about $2 a week,” Gillibrand emphasizes.
When asked about how Congress would change if more women were elected, Gillibrand doesn't hesitate. “We’d certainly have paid leave already by now, we’d have equal pay, we’d have a living minimum wage—a lot of things would change having that diversity of opinion in Washington,” she says. “We certainly wouldn’t be debating whether women should have access to birth control.”
Watch Fortune's interview with Sen. Gillibrand above.