Benefits boost for parents not enough, says Baker Institute expert


Jeff Falk

Avery Ruxer Franklin

Benefits boost for parents not enough, says Baker Institute expert

HOUSTON – (Feb. 4, 2020) – Congress recently passed a bill granting 12 weeks of paid parental leave to federal workers the same week it established the SECURE Act, which offers new parents an option for penalty-free withdrawals from retirement accounts.

These two pieces of legislation are a step toward parental benefits offered in other countries, but they don’t address all workers and their families.

Joyce Beebe, a fellow in the Center for Public Finance at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is available to discuss what these policies include – and don’t include — with the news media.

“More and more large companies have added parental or family benefits to attract talent and to retain workers,” she wrote on the Baker Institute’s blog. “This year, the federal government, one of the largest employers in the country, also joins the group.

“To a certain extent, whether a worker gets paid parental leave still depends on where he lives and works in the U.S.,” Beebe said. “Granting federal workers paid parental leave is an important milestone for supporters of paid leave policies. The next steps are to expand the benefit to small business workers and workers with (low or) moderate income and to enhance the leave coverage to workers themselves and their sick family members.”

For more information or to schedule an interview with Beebe, contact Avery Franklin, media relations specialist at Rice, at or 713-348-6327. The Baker Institute has a television and radio interview studio available.


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Follow the Baker Institute’s Center for Public Finance via Twitter @Baker_CPF.

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Related materials:

Beebe biography:

Baker Institute Center for Public Finance:

Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks as the No. 2 university-affiliated think tank in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Avery Ruxer Franklin

Avery is a media relations specialist in the Office of Public Affairs.