Republicans in Congress released a new plan to give working parents paid maternity and paternity leave earlier this week, and it hinges on a slightly unexpected source of funding.
Under the Cradle Act, which was proposed by Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), parents could opt to receive one, two or three months of paid leave benefits in exchange for agreeing to delay their own retirement and collection of Social Security payments by double the length of the paid leave time they took.
Parents would still bear the cost of taking time off, but the bill would allow them to access some of their Social Security income early — essentially, to borrow from their future selves.
The U.S. is the only industrialized country that doesn't guarantee paid parental leave to working parents. Both Democrats and Republicans have vowed to find a solution, and this bill is only the latest in a series of proposals from legislators.
But 74 percent of voters say they want the government to require businesses to offer such leave to their employees.
Almost every industrialized country except the U.S. gives working mothers at least three months of paid maternity leave, and in most of those countries, such programs are funded through a tax. But the idea of imposing a tax or making businesses directly pay for the benefit hasn't mustered bi-partisan support before, which is why Ernst and Lee have argued that the Cradle Act, which would require neither employers or the government to pay up, could be a solution.
But having workers tap their Social Security income early and delay retirement is likely to have big effects on their entire financial lives, not just the few months they cared for their new baby, according to financial planners CNBC Make It spoke with.