Slideshow Clinton vs. Trump: Where they stand on family policies

  • September 22 2016, 10:22pm EDT

10 family policy differences between Clinton, Trump

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made headlines recently with the announcement of his parental leave policy. The real estate developer described childcare policies that mark a departure from the traditional GOP stance against mandated paid parental leave. See how Trump’s ideas compare to the policies of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Parental leave

Of the 35 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development — a group for highly developed economies — the United States is the only nation that doesn’t mandate paid maternity leave. It does, however, mandate that companies provide a minimum of 12 weeks of unpaid leave to expecting mothers.

Trump: Promises “six weeks of paid maternity leave to any mother with a newborn child whose employer does not provide the benefit.” His plan outlined on his website does not mention if the policy applies to same-sex parents. He says his maternity leave policy will be completely paid for through the unemployment insurance program.

Clinton: Promises 12 weeks of paid family leave to care for biological and adopted children. Her policy applies to parents of either or both genders. According to her website, her parental leave policy will be paid by “tax reforms that will ensure the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share.” Parents on parental leave can expect at least 67% of their current wages, up to an as-yet-unspecified ceiling, Clinton says.

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How are employers affected?

Both Clinton and Trump say the paid parental leave policies will impose no additional costs to employers.

Subsidized childcare

Childcare should not exceed more than 10% of a family’s budget, yet families below the poverty line spend nearly 30% of their income on childcare, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Clinton’s policy aims to cap childcare at 10%, relying on tax cuts or state block grants to subsidize costs exceeding that mark.

Trump’s childcare policy allows families with a stay-at-home parent to deduct the average cost of childcare from their taxes through an Earned Income Tax Credit. “For low-income individuals who have no net income tax liability, we will offer an expanded earned income tax credit, that’s EITC, in the form of a childcare rebate,” he says. “Working parents can get an expanded EITC benefit that equals up to half of their total payroll tax, a major relief for low-income parents.”

Dependent care savings account

Trump’s plan allows parents to contribute up to $2,000 to a tax-free dependent care savings account. Parents do not have to depend on their employer to set up an account for each of their children, and funds will remain in the account until the age of 18. “Whatever still remains at that time can be used to help offset the cost of higher education for your child,” says Trump.

Clinton does not include a dependent care savings account in her policy.

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Childcare options

Clinton’s plan proposes free public pre-kindergarten as a direct government investment to cut down on childcare costs.

Trump’s childcare plan includes a tax credit for employers to provide childcare at the workplace and contribute to an employees’ cost of childcare.


Trump’s plan allows family members to deduct the average cost of a caregiver for their state and save up to $5,000 a year.

Clinton’s policy offers a 20% tax credit to offset up to $6,000 in caregiving costs for elderly family members. Caregivers can claim up to $1,200 in tax relief each year, according to her website.

Challenges with the plans

Clinton’s policy relies heavily on taxing the wealthy and providing subsidies to families.

Trump proposes rewriting the tax code to allow working parents to deduct expenses from their income.