New report calls for family-security insurance

Dec 06, 2010 By Andrew Cohen

( -- Researchers at Berkeley Law and Georgetown Law have released a blueprint for a national insurance program -- which would replace wages when people need to take time off for health and care-giving. The report says this need is no longer an issue for individual families or select industries, but a national priority with major social and economic implications.

Berkeley and Georgetown Law have released a report that provides a blueprint for establishing and financing a new national insurance program that would replace wages when people need to take time off for health and care-giving needs.

The report, by the Berkeley Center on Health, Economic & Family Security (Berkeley CHEFS) and Georgetown Law’s Workplace Flexibility 2010, is called “Family Security Insurance: A New Foundation for Economic Security” and is available here.

Based on a substantive review of current data, law, and policy, the report outlines a nearly universal need among working Americans for time off from work to address personal illness, care for a new child, or care for a loved one with a serious illness. It asserts that this need is no longer an issue for individual families or select industries, but a national priority with major social and economic implications.

“The report describes how Family Security Insurance would fundamentally reform social policy to address workers’ critical needs,” said Berkeley CHEFS Executive Director Ann O’Leary ’05. “At the same time, it would spread the cost fairly, protect the deficit, and keep people working.”

O’Leary co-authored the report with Berkeley Law Professors Stephen Sugarman and Gillian Lester, Berkeley CHEFS Counsel Angela Clements '09, and members of the Georgetown Law faculty. On December 2 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., O’Leary, Sugarman, and Lester helped launch the report by appearing on a panel with two Georgetown colleagues to discuss the proposal’s key items.

Family Security Insurance would reform the current social insurance system to provide for income replacement when people take time off from work for health and care-giving reasons. The report outlines the benefits that would be provided, who would be eligible, how the program would be administered, and how to fund it.

The recommendations cover income replacement for three important life events: one’s own serious illness or temporary disability that renders a worker temporarily unable to perform his or her job; arrival of a child who needs care and time to bond with parents; and the serious illness of a family member who needs care.

Family Security Insurance would be a national social insurance program not paid for by the government, but by spreading the cost among workers and their employers to create a fair, predictable foundation of support.

“Spreading the costs between employers and employees is fair because both will benefit from Family Security Insurance,” said Sugarman. “Employers will be more able to retain good workers and employees will receive a basic level of economic security when they need to be temporarily away from the workforce. Having employers and employees pay for Family Security Insurance will also ensure that it's not a government funded welfare program that would add to the national deficit.”

Explore further: 3 Qs: Economist makes the case for new quasi-experiments as a way of studying environmental issues

More information:

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Satisfying job leads to better mental health

Oct 14, 2010

( -- If you want to have good mental health, it’s not enough to just have a job, you should also have a job that satisfies you, according to new research from The Australian National University. ...

Unions make both members and nonmembers happier

Nov 05, 2010

It’s no coincidence that American workers have never been more dissatisfied with their jobs, and labor unions’ membership keeps dropping, according to a new study co-authored by University of Notre Dame political scienti ...

Report: Employers to see 2011 medical costs jump

Jun 14, 2010

(AP) -- Companies that offer employee health insurance expect another steep jump in medical costs next year, and more will ask workers to share a bigger chunk of the expense, according to a new PricewaterhouseCoopers report.

The stress of work becomes social issue

Nov 01, 2010

The sharp rise in work stress in Britain is becoming a major social problem in the current economic crisis, a new British Academy report has found.

Recommended for you

Which foods may cost you more due to Calif. drought

Apr 17, 2014

With California experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, grocery shoppers across the country can expect to see a short supply of certain fruits and vegetables in stores, and to pay higher prices ...

Performance measures for CEOs vary greatly, study finds

Apr 16, 2014

As companies file their annual proxy statements with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) this spring, a new study by Rice University and Cornell University shows just how S&P 500 companies have ...

Investment helps keep transport up to speed

Apr 16, 2014

Greater investment in education and training for employees will be required to meet the future needs of the transport and logistics industry, according to recent reports by Monash University researchers.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

3 / 5 (2) Dec 06, 2010
Oh, goody. Another monstrous entitlement with costs to be mandated by the nanny state. When we're in a hole, depend on the left to bring in the heavy digging equipment.
5 / 5 (1) Dec 07, 2010
Supported by Maria Shriver and also the Center For American Progress no less...

More news stories

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I's government came up with a series of measures to deter "divers evil persons" ...

Growing app industry has developers racing to keep up

Smartphone application developers say they are challenged by the glut of apps as well as the need to update their software to keep up with evolving phone technology, making creative pricing strategies essential to finding ...

Making graphene in your kitchen

Graphene has been touted as a wonder material—the world's thinnest substance, but super-strong. Now scientists say it is so easy to make you could produce some in your kitchen.