Legislation introduced this week would provide all federal employees with four weeks of paid parental leave upon the birth or adoption of a child.
The legislation was introduced February 5 in the House by Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Gerald Connolly (D-VA) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC). The legislation (HR 517) is known as the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (FEPPLA).
In addition to giving federal employees four weeks of paid leave, FEPPLA would allow them to use any accumulated annual or sick leave to offset the 12 weeks of unpaid leave guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act.
By failing to provide paid parental leave, the federal government lags behind both the private sector (53% of private-sector employers provide some form of paid parental leave), and most industrialized nations around the world. The bill previously passed the House in the 111th Congress with bipartisan by a vote of 258-154.
Speaking on the legislation, Maloney said, “Currently, federal employees must deplete their annual leave and sick time to take time off after the arrival of a child. With this bill the Federal government can lead the way, make ‘family-friendly’ more than a buzzword, and ensure that both newborns and the government benefit. Families should not have to choose between a paycheck and getting their newborn home and settled in, especially in these economic times.”
Connolly added, “It is time to provide our federal workforce with parental leave benefits comparable to what is found in the private sector. Our treatment of our dedicated federal workforce is a reflection of our country’s values.”
NTEU National President Colleen M. Kelley said in a statement, “This paid parental leave act will make a significant difference in the lives of both parent and child. It is time for the federal government, as the largest employer in this country, to step up and make parental leave benefits a reality–not a mirage that few can afford to use.”