Last week, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a plan that would allow parents to withdraw money from their future Social Security benefits to take time off from work to care for a new child. This is an unworkable idea at a time when Social Security is already inadequate to sustain most older adults in their retirement.

Forcing people to choose between parental leave now and their future retirement security is not a real choice, and is not real family leave.

Those who would be more likely to take this risk, and suffer greater harm from losing future Social Security benefits, are also those more likely to work in low-wage, part-time jobs that lack employer-based paid leave benefits. Additionally, this bill provides no support for people who need to take leave for other types of family health issues, such as caregiving for a parent or spouse, or dealing with one’s own severe medical needs. 

A family leave program that doesn’t include everyone and contributes to senior poverty for the people who participate in it is reckless and irresponsible. We do need family leave, but we need family leave that covers everyone and doesn’t require people to jeopardize their future retirement security.

Call your Congress members and tell them to reject this seriously problematic proposal, and demand that they invest in a family leave program that allows people to take care of themselves and their families at every stage of their lives. 

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