A similar proposal followinglast year's SOTU address omitted two key groups—family caregiversand those who have their own health issues—and failed to addressissues of cost and implementation. (Photo:Shutterstock)

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In this year's State of the Union speech, the president againmentioned paid family leave, saying, “I am also proud tobe the first president to include in my budget a plan fornationwide paid family leave—so that every new parent has thechance to bond with their newborn child.”

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While this is not really news—Trump also touted a family leave policy in last year'sSOTU speech—there are still few details available about how itwould work, what it would cost, and whom it would include.

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According to the Society for Human Resource Management, lastyear's speech did lay out a few specifics. Among other things, hesaid that such leave would be guaranteed by amendments toobligatory unemployment insurance. Congress didn't takethat proposal very far.

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Related: Despite the buzz, report finds paid family leaveunavailable to many

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In addition, CNBC reported after last year's speech thatthere were other shortfalls to the proposal. It called for just 6weeks of leave, compared with “current federal law under the Familyand Medical Leave Act,  [which] allows someworkers to take up to 12 weeks off.”

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Then there's the fact that two key groups were excluded fromlast year's proposal—family caregivers and those who have their ownhealth issues—in addition to the cost factor, which would havechiefly affected low-income women of childbearing age, according toMichael Strain, an economist at American Enterprise Institute, whoadded in the report that that proposal would probably involve anincrease in payroll taxes.

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This year there are no details yet, so it remains to be seenwhat form such a proposal might take. In the SHRM president and CEOJohnny C. Taylor, Jr. says he was pleased that Trump “signaled thatthis was a dialogue he was engaged in.” He added that employerswill be watching for the answers to several questions: “How do youpay for it? Who pays for it? What is the cost of it?”

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The White House website highlights actions already taken with regard tofamily leave. The posted statement says, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Actsigned by the president included a new tax credit to businessesoffering paid family leave to their employees. Businesses canreceive a tax credit of up to 25 percent for the wages paid toemployees during their leave. This tax credit marked an importantstep in promoting paid family leave nationwide.”

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Still, Montez King, executive director of the National Institutefor Metalworking Skills, speaking to SHRM, expressed concernabout how small businesses would pay for a familyleave policy, saying, “The larger companies, they can absorb itmuch more easily. As a smaller company … that's a tall order forus.”

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