House Lawmakers Introduce Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act
On Monday, a group of House lawmakers held a press conference to unveil the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (FEPPLA), legislation providing federal employees six weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child. This legislation comes in the wake of President Obama’s push in recent weeks for the policy – including an executive order directing agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave for employees with newborn or newly-adopted children. The FEPPLA was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
As it currently stands, federal employees are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave (that can be substituted with paid annual or sick leave) under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993. While the FMLA was hailed as a momentous achievement in 1993, the U.S. needs to catch up with the rest of the developed world and provide greater flexibilities for workers who are building a family. The reality is that many federal employees simply cannot afford to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to raise a child, and that is hampering the government from recruiting and retaining top talent in the federal workforce.
There are numerous benefits to providing paid parental leave to federal employees. Studies have shown that access to paid parental leave significantly increased the likelihood that workers will return to their jobs instead of dropping out of the labor force – which reduces the cost to federal agencies of providing training to new employees and keeps federal employees with highly-specialized skillsets in the workforce. Additionally, one of the many factors leading to the pay gap between men and women is the time women spend outside of the workforce for caregiving responsibilities.
For years, NFFE has been on the front lines of Congress pushing for the passage of paid parental leave for federal employees. NFFE will work with the President, as well as members of Congress to get this family-friendly legislation passed.
“America is the only developed country in the world that does not offer its employees some sort of paid parental leave, and that is embarrassing,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “Congress and the President have an opportunity to lead by example by providing federal employees paid parental leave. If the federal government offers paid parental leave to its employees, that will encourage private sector employers to follow. We applaud the leadership demonstrated by President Obama and Representative Maloney. NFFE will be pushing hard in the 114th Congress to pass this legislation.”