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Paid Leave Legislation Introduced for Federal Employees

September 16, 2015, 10:18 AM HST · Updated September 16, 10:18 AM
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US Sen. Brian Schatz. Courtesy photo.

US Sen. Brian Schatz. Courtesy photo.

US Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) introduced the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act today, legislation that would provide federal employees with six weeks of paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for the birth, adoption or fostering of a child.

“While private companies are beginning to see the benefits of providing paid family leave, America is still the only industrial nation in the world without a program that gives working parents the time off and income they need to care for a new child,” said Sen. Schatz. “Our legislation will provide federal workers with six weeks of paid leave, making sure no federal employee has to make the impossible choice between caring for a newborn child and putting dinner on the table.”

“Working families who work hard and play by the rules deserve to get ahead and not just get by,” said Sen. Mikulski. “No working parent should be forced to choose between caring for their family and keeping their job. This legislation will provide a critical lifeline to working moms and dads to provide the care and support infants and children need. I will continue to fight so working families have a government on their side.”

Although the Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to medical and family issues, it does not provide any paid parental leave. Women are most affected by this, as they are more likely than men to have to use this type of leave.

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Studies show that providing paid parental leave for federal employees would save the government at least $50 million annually in turnover and replacement costs. It could also prevent the departure of 2,650 female federal employees annually, while attracting and retaining talented workers.

The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act is supported by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; American Federation of Government Employees; National Treasury Employees Union; National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association; National Partnership for Women & Families; and American Foreign Service Association.

“I am proud to see Senators Schatz and Mikulski standing up for working families and introducing this critical legislation for working families,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox, Sr. “Too often, our working mothers and fathers have to make the agonizing choice between spending time with their families or earning a paycheck. With this bill, civil servants across the country would be able to do both.”

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“Everybody knows that family comes first,” said AFSCME President Lee Saunders. “But our economy is so out of balance now that working people don’t know how they can sustain a family on wages and benefits that aren’t keeping up with how hard they’re working. Public service workers need to be able to provide for their families, but also want to be there for them when it counts most. This legislation is a commonsense way to help create an economy that works for everyone and even more importantly, it’s good for families.”

“I applaud and thank Senators Schatz and Mikulski for introducing a paid parental leave bill and offer NTEU’s strong support for this important piece of legislation,” said National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon. “Federal employees with newborn, newly-adopted or foster children should not have to choose between a paycheck and caring for their newest family members. Sen. Schatz’s legislation would ease the pressure on employees who are struggling to be good parents and good public servants. This bill, and a similar House proposal by Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, would better align federal parental leave policies with the private sector and bring the U.S. closer in line with other industrialized nations.”

“I thank Senators Schatz and Mikulski for their leadership on this issue, and NARFE urges Congress to support federal employees by affording them paid parental leave,” said National President of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association Richard G. Thissen. “This commonsense piece of legislation should be acted on swiftly.”

“We commend Senators Schatz and Mikulski for reintroducing the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (FEPPLA) today,” said National Partnership for Women & Families President Debra L. Ness. “As more and more private companies improve their paid family and medical leave policies, the federal government should do so too and passage of FEPPLA would help make it the model employer it should be. Providing up to six weeks of paid parental leave to more than two million federal workers would save the government money through reduced costs associated with turnover and replacement, and help the government attract and retain valuable workers. Family friendly policies make workers healthier, families stronger and our workplaces more successful.”

On Jan. 26, 2015, companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representative by US Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-New York) and 56 cosponsors.

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