Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act Approved; Moves on to Full Committee


Earlier today, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Post Office, and the District of Columbia passed the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2009 (FEPPLA), H.R. 626, a bill that would grant federal employees four weeks of paid leave when caring for a newly born or adopted child. In addition, it would allow the Office of Personnel Management to increase the total amount of paid absence to eight weeks, based on consideration of several factors such as enhanced recruitment and retention of valuable employees.

Under current law, new parents are forced to use most or all of their sick leave in order to avoid choosing between receiving a paycheck and staying home with their child. In the instances where there is little or no sick leave to spare, new parents are forced to go without a paycheck at a time when it is needed most. Proponents of the bill argue that the current policy is not only unfair, but that it discourages quality employees from joining the federal workforce.

“Rather than penalize workers for taking time off to care for a newborn, the Federal Employee Paid Parental Leave Act offers a commonsense policy that recognizes the special demands a parent faces in bringing a new child into the world,” said Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD). “Policies such as this, which help workers maintain a healthy work-life balance, are critical both to employee morale and in competing with the private sector to attract and retain the strongest talent to the federal workforce.”

Reintroduced earlier this year by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), FEPPLA would amend the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which currently offers just 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave to federal employees. The bill will now move on to be considered by the full House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

“The passage of the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act today represents a huge step forward in building a family-friendly and competitive federal workplace,” said National President Richard N. Brown. “We applaud the committee’s passage of this essential piece of legislation and look forward to its consideration before the full committee in the weeks to come.”