House Republicans Introduce Bill Protecting Mothers From Healthcare Costs

House Republicans recently introduced legislation ensuring that mothers “who choose to prioritize their child’s early development and recover rather than return to work” after giving birth are not penalized by having their health care premiums stripped.

Sens. J.D. Vance (R-OH) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced the “Fairness for Stay-At-Home Parents Act,” which would modify the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993, which currently requires covered companies with over 50 employees to provide their workers 12 weeks of unpaid medical leave in 12 months during the birth of a child and in cases of adoption.

The Fairness for Stay-At-Home Parents Act would “prohibit an employer from recovering any health care premium paid by the employer for an employee if the employee fails to return to work due to the birth of a child, and for other purposes,” as reported by the Blaze.

In a statement, Vance praised the bill, which allows employers to continue their health premium contributions for the duration of a 12-week leave.

“Our laws should not penalize new parents who choose to stay home to care for their newborn babies,” the Ohio lawmaker said. “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.”

Rubio also lauded the legislation, pointing it that if enacted, employers cannot penalize employees if they decide not to return to work after the birth of a child during the unpaid leave period.

“The Fairness for Stay-At-Home Parents Act supports mothers’ and parents’ invaluable role in raising the next generation,” Rubio said.

“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,” he added.

The introduction of the Fairness for Stay-At-Home Parents Act comes after the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that just 24% of children under the age of 15 have a stay-at-home mother and less than 10% have a stay-at-home father.

The Pew Research Center reported that in 2021, 26% of mothers stayed with their children at home, compared to 7% of fathers who did.

In December 2022, Forbes reported that approximately 2.1 million fathers were stay-at-home dads in 2021, marking a nearly 10% increase since 1989.