The U.S. bishops’ conference praised legislative efforts to secure family leave policies, after a Senate bill was introduced that would allow new parents to draw two months of Social Security benefits while they care for their new child.

The bill, titled the “Economic Security for New Parents Act,” was introduced to the Senate on Thursday by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).

Dominic Lombardi, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ conference Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life, and Youth, told CNA that “the principle of family leave is an important one,” and that new parents “ought to be supported in their calling to raise the next generation.”

“We encourage and welcome the ideas of lawmakers such as Senator Rubio in exploring effective ways on how best to provide paid leave policies for new parents.”

If Rubio’s bill were to pass, it would be the first law concerning family leave since the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA provides a 12-week period of unpaid time off for qualified employees who are caring for a relative.

While Rubio said he’d prefer that the private sector pay for family leave, he noted that this does not frequently happen. He also said that when paid leave is offered, it is typically only better-paid employees who receive the benefit from their employer, not lower-income workers who suffer most by missing work.

The bill only offers benefits for new parents, not for those taking time off from work to care for other relatives. Lombardi told CNA that he hoped that future policies will include support for “all phases of family life.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.