Representatives Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) reintroduced legislation Tuesday that would provide 12 weeks of paid family leave for federal employees. Similar legislation has been proposed in the past, but has not been passed.
The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) would guarantee paid leave for all instances covered by the FMLA, which currently only guarantees unpaid leave.
According to a statement from Hoyer’s office, the bill would guarantee 12 weeks of paid leave:
- Because of the birth of a son or daughter of the employee and in order to care for such son or daughter.
- Because of the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care.
- In order to care for the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent, of the employee, if such spouse, son, daughter, or parent has a serious health condition.
- Because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s position.
- Because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on covered active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty) in the Armed Forces.
“I’m proud to stand with my colleagues and with advocates to introduce this bill, which is long overdue,” said Hoyer. “Hardworking federal workers deserve paid parental leave to bond with their children and acclimate to parenthood. Doing so benefits not only these employees and their families but also helps our nation recruit and retain the most competitive and talented workers into public service.”
“Paid family leave for federal employees isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do,” said Maloney. “Paid family leave improves productivity, reduces turnover, boosts morale and attracts and retains more talent, which is exactly what our federal workforce deserves right now. We’re the only developed country in the world without some sort of paid leave policy. That needs to change. I’m proud to introduce the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act to give our federal employees 12 weeks of paid family leave and honored to have the support of Leader Hoyer, Congressman Beyer, and Congresswoman Wexton, along with our amazing advocates for families and federal employees.”
Support from Unions and Employee Groups
The proposed legislation gets broad support from unions and other groups that represent federal employees.
“AFGE applauds Representative Maloney for her continuing support of federal employees and their families by extending 12 weeks of paid leave for reasons covered by the FMLA,” said AFGE National President J. David Cox, Sr. “FEPLA recognizes the value of the federal workforce and their family commitments and provides benefits necessary to recruit and retain the talent that is essential for federal agencies to carry out their mission to serve the U.S. public.”
“Paid family-leave policies have been shown to enhance the recruitment and retention of young professionals, reduce turnover costs significantly and improve employee morale, all of which are challenges facing the federal government,” said Ken Thomas- National President, NARFE. “The Federal Employees Paid Leave Act supports best practices in human resources management and bolsters the federal government’s ability to compete with the private sector in its ongoing efforts to provide Americans with a top-performing, highly qualified workforce.”
“The reality is that we all get sick, care for loved ones, and have or adopt children while we juggle the demands of our jobs,” said Deborah J. Vagins, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Research at the American Association of University Women. “Yet, it is disproportionately women, who are already making less than their male peers, who still bear the brunt of these responsibilities. When women are forced to take unpaid leave to provide long-term care, it hinders their long-term economic security. As the country’s largest employer, the federal government can help break down the systemic barriers that push women out of the workforce, and instead implement gender-neutral, paid leave that gives all employees the opportunity to flourish.”
“NTEU welcomes this legislation as a win-win for federal employees and for the federal government. It provides employees with a much-needed ability to care for their families in times of need without sacrificing a paycheck,” said Tony Reardon, National President of the National Treasury Employees Union. “At the same time, federal agencies will benefit by retaining talented employees, and being able to recruit workers for the future.”
“There continues to be momentum for paid family and medical leave as lawmakers across the country and leading businesses recognize that paid leave is good for business, workers and the economy,” said Debra L. Ness, president, National Partnership for Women & Families. “It is only right and timely that the federal government follow suit. The expanded Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) goes beyond paid parental leave and would help the federal government – the nation’s largest employer – take a step toward modernizing benefits for the more than 2 million federal employees who serve the public every day and keep our government running. We urge Congress to pass FEPLA, which will help the government attract and retain talented workers and provide our nation’s public servants with the leave they deserve.”