NFFE President Erwin Cheers Bipartisan Effort to Fix Federal Worker Paid Parental Leave
Washington, D.C. – National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) National President Randy Erwin offered praise to House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Republican committee member Rep. Carol Miller (R-WV) for introducing H.R. 5885 to fix gaps in the recently passed Paid Parental Leave law. When the law was passed in December, a rush to finish the legislation inadvertently excluded several classifications of federal workers from the new paid parental leave benefit. Among those left out were employees at the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Title 38 employees at the Veterans Affairs Department (VA), certain TSA workers, the District of Columbia courts and public defender’s office, and Article 1 judges.
“We are very grateful for the bipartisanship of the committee to fix this provision in the law, especially on behalf of our members who work at the FAA and the VA,” stated Erwin. “Paid parental leave ensures that federal employees will not have to forgo a paycheck to stay home with a new child. This common sense, family-friendly provision was long overdue in the federal government.”
The new provision starts on October 1, 2020, offering workers 12 weeks of leave after the birth of a new child, or the adoption or fostering of a child. While most employee organizations and government groups celebrated the new benefit, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) under direction of the White House is attempting to limit the benefit to a maximum of 12 weeks even if both parents are federal employees. OPM seeks also to reduce the time allowed for new foster children, stating that a foster child is usually a temporary situation and therefore, it “undermines the justification for paid parental leave to allow for long-term bonding,” the agency wrote.
“Capping the benefit because both parents work for the federal government is outrageous,” Erwin continued. “Furthermore, to offer less time with a fostered child or baby simply because he or she is a foster child is simply ignorant and disturbing on the part of OPM,” Erwin continued. “We will continue to fight both provisions if OPM chooses to go that route. In the meantime, we again thank the many members of Congress who stood with NFFE and our allies over the years to get paid parental leave passed into law. This is a game changer, one that will help with recruiting and retention, and move the federal government as an employer into the 21st Century.”