President Obama Expands Parental Leave for Federal Employees


On Thursday, President Obama signed a presidential memorandum directing federal agencies to advance up to six weeks of paid sick leave to federal employees with a new child, employees caring for ill family members, and other sick leave-eligible uses. As outlined by a fact sheet from the White House, the memorandum is intended to provide increased flexibilities to balance the work and family life of federal employees. 

Accompanying the signed memorandum, President Obama has asked Congress to pass legislation aimed at providing federal employees six weeks of paid administrative leave for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. In addition, the proposal would allow parents to use sick days to care for a healthy child after a birth mother’s period of incapacitation or after an adoption. 

The President has also called on cities, states and municipalities across the country to enact similar policies. In the Fiscal Year 2016 Budget, President Obama will propose to reimburse up to five states for three years of the administrative costs and roughly half of the cost of benefits associated with implementing similar programs. And in an effort to encourage local governments to examine paid leave programs seriously, the President announced a new grant program for local governments to conduct paid leave feasibility studies.

“NFFE applauds President Obama for taking action to help give federal workers the essential flexibility needed to build a family while working for the federal government,” said NFFE National President William R. Dougan. “President Obama recognized that the status quo with regard to parental leave was inadequate, and he took an important step toward rectifying the problem. With this change, federal agencies can now do more to retain talented employees who would otherwise leave government and take their training and skills with them when they realized they did not have the flexibility to build a family. These sensible changes will help agencies operate more efficiently by being able to retain their best and brightest workers. This action from President Obama is a win for both federal workers and American taxpayers. Ultimately, we would like to see legislation to establish a paid parental leave benefit for federal employees, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.” 

To read the full fact sheet on the list of Thursday’s announcements from the White House, click here.

On Thursday, President Obama renewed his push for paid parental leave for federal employees