WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senators JD Vance (R-OH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) will introduce legislation on Tuesday to protect stay-at-home parents from being exposed to undue healthcare costs. The Fairness for Stay-At-Home Parents Act would add “birth of a child” as a protected reason for not returning to work under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). This much-needed legislation would prevent employers from reclaiming healthcare premiums and ensure that employers subject to the FMLA continue their health premium contributions during the 12-week leave.
“Our laws should not penalize new parents who choose to stay home to care for their newborn babies,” said Senator Vance. “We should celebrate and promote young families, not punish them. This legislation would relieve a serious financial burden for working families all over America and steer Washington in a more pro-family direction.”
“The Fairness for Stay-At-Home Parents Act supports mothers’ and parents’ invaluable role in raising the next generation,” said Senator Rubio. “This legislation stops employers from imposing harsh financial penalties if a parent decides not to return to work after unpaid leave, and it empowers families to make choices that prioritize the well-being of their children.”
Under current law, employers subject to the FMLA are allowed to clawback health care premiums paid on behalf of employees who don’t return to work from family leave. The FMLA shields workers from these clawbacks in the event of serious health conditions, but not in the event of childbirth, penalizing mothers who choose to prioritize their child’s early development and recover rather than return to work within the 12 weeks provided under FMLA.