Ivanka Trump once promised that if her father was elected, she would ensure paid family leave was a staple in every workplace, and Donald Trump promised the program would finance itself.
Two years later, the Trump administration is no closer to accomplishing this goal than they were when Ivanka and her father told prospective voters and working parents that they could be trusted to deliver on paid leave and thus deserved their votes.
“My father’s policy will give paid leave to mothers whose employers are among the almost 90 percent of U.S. business that currently do not offer this benefit,” Ivanka Trump said at a September 2016 rally.
Trump himself said he would “provide six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit” and “get them to be okay, right? And we will be completely self-financing.” He said he would do that “by recapturing fraud and improper payments in the unemployment insurance program.”
His campaign website also promised “6 weeks of paid leave to new mothers before returning to work.” The campaign’s proposal did not include fathers or adoptive parents in their paid family leave proposal. Offering paid leave only to mothers carries economic costs to women, who already face a motherhood penalty in the workplace.
Since then, there have been paid family leave policies announced in budget documents that were subsequently ignored by the administration and the Republican-controlled Congress.
Ivanka Trump was there for the announcement of Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-FL) paid family leave bill in August, which would allow working parents to access some of their Social Security benefits early, to give them the facsimile of paid leave at the expense of the worker’s retirement.
That this campaign promise has seemingly died on the vine shouldn’t be too surprising, as Trump’s own businesses often fell far short of paid family leave for its own workers.
Ivanka Trump, who was an executive at the Trump Organization before joining her father’s administration, asserted that the company provided paid family leave to all of its workers. But that turned out not to be true — the company complied with the Family Medical Leave Act which requires employers to allow workers to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave, however it did not provide paid parental leave to employees across all its properties and hotels.
The United States is one of only nine countries in the United Nations that doesn’t guarantee paid time off for new mothers.
Some states have struck out on their own to pick up the slack, passing legislation that ensures the expansion of paid family leave coverage for their residents.
But working parents nationwide are still waiting for a solution to a crisis that impacts millions of new parents who need to work to support their families.