U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Federal Employees Paid Leave Act last week that would provide federal employees with 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or a sick loved one.
The legislation is a companion bill introduced in the House last month and is cosponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
Under the current Family and Medical Leave Act, while employees can take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to medical and family issues, it does not provide any paid leave.
“It’s 2019. Everyone’s juggling work and family, but the policies haven’t changed with the times,” said Senator Schatz. “Our bill will provide federal workers with 12 weeks of paid leave, making sure no federal employee has to make the impossible choice between caring for their family and keeping their job.”
“Federal workers do critical work that keeps America running,” said Senator Merkley. “These workers need to have the paid leave that will enable them to do their best work and be there for their families during important life moments. Let’s pass this bill, and make it a step towards providing all Americans with paid family leave.”
Support from Federal Employee Groups
The Federal Employees Paid Leave Act is supported by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), the Federal-Postal Coalition, and the National Partnership for Women & Families.
“Thank you to Senator Schatz for introducing this legislation that would provide federal employees with 12 weeks of paid leave for reasons covered by the FMLA, including a new child, a family illness, or issues involving military deployments. Extending this benefit to federal employees will help them better balance their work and home lives, and it will give agencies a needed advantage when recruiting and retaining workers to carry out critical missions on behalf of the country.” said J. David Cox, Sr., National President of AFGE.
“NTEU applauds Senator Schatz for recognizing that the federal government should be leading the way in developing family friendly workplace policies, and the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act is a prime example,” said Tony Reardon, President of the National Treasury Employees Union. “There comes a time in every family where some extra help is necessary — whether it’s a newborn or an elderly parent or a sick loved one — and the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act would give our nation’s civil servants the ability to be there for their families without putting themselves into financial distress. NTEU strongly supports this legislation.”