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Walker Works Towards Free-Market Solution for Paid Family Leave

April 29, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Mark Walker (R-N.C.) co-sponsored H.R. 2163, the Freedom for Families Act, legislation that represents a free-market alternative to federally-mandated paid family leave. The bill would make funds in a health savings account (HSA) available for expenses during a period of leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or for a family illness. 

“Government restrictions should never get in the way of families doing what’s best for their loved ones,” Walker said. “I am proud to co-sponsor the Freedom for Families Act and empower mothers, fathers, sons and daughters with the flexibility they need to care for a sick family member or spend time with a newborn child. Every situation is different, that’s why we must achieve solutions that give North Carolina families real options without implementing costly one-size-fits-all mandates.”

The bill removes restrictions on HSAs by increasing the annual contribution limit, so families can exert more control over their savings. Under this bill, HSA contributions increase to $9,000 for individuals and $18,000 for joint filers.

According to the Americans for Tax Reform, there are several advantages to using HSA funds to pay for leave.

  • HSAs are portable, which allows individuals to carry funds from one job to the next without fear of losing their accrued benefits.
  • There is no minimum period of employment to use these funds, and no need to pay them back once you’ve used them.
  • Contributions are completely voluntary and completely customizable to the needs of families and individuals.
  • Contributions can be made by the account holder, family members, or businesses alike.
  • There is no need to borrow against retirement or delay retirement to take leave.

The Freedom for Families Act was introduced earlier this month by U.S. Representative Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.).

“Families already use health savings accounts to save for healthcare expenses. There is no reason why families should not have the freedom to access those funds to pay expenses during family leave for a child’s birth, adoption, or a family illness,” Biggs said. “This proposal provides financial security for families during family leave without new taxes or new federal burdens on employers. I encourage my colleagues to join me in supporting this free-market solution to empower American families to control their own savings and leave.”

You can read the full text of the legislation here.

U.S. Representatives Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Paul A. Gosar (R-Ariz.), Ron Wright (R-Texas), Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.), Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), Jody B. Hice (R-Ga.), John Joyce (R-Pa.), Tim Cole (R-OK), Ken Buck (R-Colo.), Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Tim Burchett (R-Tenn.) are also co-sponsors of this bill.