NFFE Brings 12 Week Parental Leave to Vote; Shutdown and Pay Loom

In what can only be described as a victory for all federal employees, Congress approved 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers under a provision within the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) this week.  NFFE and its labor partners lobbied for this provision for years in an attempt to bring the federal sector more in line with private sector family wellness benefits.

“Congress after Congress, we pushed for a reasonable benefit to help federal workers care for their families in times of need,” stated Randy Erwin, NFFE National President.  “Parental Leave was a priority during our Legislative Weeks, and our persistence paid off.”  The new provision is expected to pass under the 2020 NDAA later this week and then head to the president’s desk for signature.


Shutdown worries resurfaced this week out of a renewed fear that Senate floor procedures or White House politics could interfere with the ability of Congress to get a continuing resolution done and signed in time to beat the Friday, December 20th deadline.  While the likelihood of a shutdown remains remote, federal workers are encouraged to prepare their personal finances in the event that a disruption in pay transpires.  If a shutdown occurs, pay period 25 paychecks will most likely arrive as scheduled but nothing is a given.  Pay period 26 checks are more likely to be affected in the event of a lapse in funding.      

On another note, the 2020 federal pay raise in still in limbo because the Financial Services General Government appropriations bill—the bill that dictates annual pay levels—is stalled in the Senate.  The House passed the federal labor-supported 3.1% increase (2.6% broad increase with a .5% locality increase) earlier this year, and the president endorsed a 2.6% broad increase (with no locality pay increase), however the Senate remains stuck on that and other provisions of the bill.  If no bill is passed, then the president will likely issue an Executive Order dictating the level of the 2020 calendar year pay increase.