Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA) introduced legislation Friday — the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2018 (HR 6275) — that would provide federal employees with 12 weeks of paid parental leave in the case of the birth or adoption of a child.
“Today most large employers provide at least 12 weeks paid and this is a competitiveness issue as well as a retention issue for the federal workplace to attract and maintain the top talent in the workplace,” Comstock said in a statement last week. “Paid parental leave has been proven to help women remain in the workforce, lower infant mortality rates, improve infant health, and reduce depression and other postpartum mental health issues in women.”
Comstock also noted that men who have paid time off upon the birth or adoption of a child are more likely to engage with their child, even after returning to work.
“The federal government should match other large employers to remain competitive for the top talent necessary for our federal workforce,” Comstock continued. “My office provides 12 weeks paid family leave and this is a policy that I encourage all of my colleagues to adopt also.”
National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) President Richard G. Thissen applauded the introduction of the legislation. “NARFE thanks Congresswoman Comstock for championing this long-overdue policy, ” Thissen said. ““Paid parental leave demonstrates the value we place on family and parenting. Parents should not be forced to make difficult trade-offs between spending invaluable time to bond with their new child, or being able to pay their bills and save for their child’s future. NARFE appreciates Congresswoman Comstock’s leadership on this issue, and urges Congress to swiftly act to pass this commonsense, family-friendly legislation.”
Similar legislation for paid parental leave has been introduced in the past but has not gained traction. Last year, Comstock cosponsored a bill with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) that offered federal employees with six weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.
The complete text of the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2018 can be read here (11-page PDF).