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Donald Trump's Family Leave Plan Ignores Dads

Photograph by Twenty20

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump unveiled a plan this week that is unprecedented for the Republican party. In it, he called for better support of working mothers and proposed six weeks of paid maternity leave for women whose employers don't already offer such benefits.

The announcement echoed what his daughter (and campaign adviser) Ivanka Trump said during her speech at the Republican National Convention, in which she talked about maternity leave and childcare support and touted her father's interest in supporting working mothers.

The problem is, as critics are pointing out, his plans leave out fathers and appear to assume only women are family caregivers.

"We need working mothers to be fairly compensated for their work, and to have access to affordable, quality childcare for their kids," Trump said to the crowd. His plan would apply only to mothers and non-trasferable to fathers, the Washington Post reported.

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Parts of his plan do include the entire family, including his proposal to allow childcare expenses to be fully deducted from annual federal taxes, as well as expenses for caregiving for elderly dependents. Current federal law allows similar deductions but with caps on how much. Under Trump's plan, deductions would be capped at the average cost of care in the state of residence and would exclude individuals earning more than $250,000 and couples earning more than $500,000 annually.

A focus on women's issues is something of a pivot for those who have followed Trump over his decades in the limelight, and many credit his daughter for leading him in this direction.

In contrast, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has proposed 12 weeks of paid family leave, allowing for fathers to also have time off for caregiving.

Trump's plan will cost nothing, he said, as it will be paid for through money saved by eliminating fraud in the unemployment insurance program.

Trump was surrounded by Republican women lawmakers when announcing the plan, and Tennessee congresswoman Marsha Blackburn offered this sweeping generalization about American men and women: "We know men always want more money. What do women want? More time. And we are thrilled to finally have a president of the United States who is going to put the focus on working with women to make certain you can achieve your American dream," Blackburn said.

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A focus on women's issues is something of a pivot for those who have followed Trump over his decades in the limelight, and many credit his daughter for leading him in this direction. But she refused to answer questions about how genuine his efforts are, considering strong past statements about career mothers and women in general. Ivanka Trump stopped an interview with Cosmopolitan magazine yesterday, the publication reported, after their reporter asked for the potential "first daughter" to reconcile the contradictory positions.

In an interview about her father's new leave policy, Ivanka incorrectly said that her father's employees were eligible for eight weeks of paid maternity leave, CNN is reporting. Instead, Trump International's vice president of human resources Deirdre Rosen clarified that leave is handled on an individual basis.

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