The United States is the only industrialized nation without national paid parental leave. Some private-sector employers choose to provide paid parental leave, but that touches only about 13 percent of all private-sector workers. Federal employees do not have paid parental leave.
Under the 1993 Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees in both the public and private sectors can take up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a newborn or an ill family member without fear of losing their jobs, but that leave is unpaid.
The U.S. government should lead by example. That’s why our union worked with Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to introduce a bill that would provide all federal employees with 12 weeks of paid leave for reasons covered by FMLA. Under the new bill, you can take paid leave to:
- Give birth and take care of a newborn.
- Adopt a child.
- Foster a child.
- Take care of your spouse, child, or parent who has a serious medical condition.
- Take care of yourself if you have a serious medical condition.
- Take care of an urgent need when you or a family member is detailed for covered duty in the armed forces.
“We’ve worked with Congresswoman Maloney on this bill for many years, and we are happy that the legislation has evolved to cover all federal workers, including TSA officers, and now covers family leave in addition to maternity leave,” said AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. “These benefits will allow the federal government to recruit and retain federal workers because they are increasingly available from private-sector employers.”
Currently, federal workers can carry over no more than 30 days of annual leave – hardly enough time to bond with a newly arrived child or care for a seriously ill family member.
“The federal government has reimbursed federal contractors and grant recipients for the cost of providing paid family leave to their workers, and it’s time for the government to extend this benefit to its own employees,” Cox added.
Our union thanks Rep. Maloney, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.), and Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) for introducing and cosponsoring this important bill.