President Clinton announced last week that he will use his executive order authority to propose a Labor Department rule allowing states to use their unemployment insurance to offer paid leave to new parents, a move staunchly opposed by business groups that would expand provisions under the Family Medical Leave Act.

“I believe giving states the flexibility to experiment with paid employment leave is one of the best things we can do to strengthen our families and help new mothers and fathers meet their responsibilities both at home and at work,” Clinton said in a statement from the Oval Office. The president added that participation in the initiative would be voluntary.

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