AFGE Recognized for Winning Paid Parental Leave for Federal Workers

Categories: The Insider

AFGE is a recipient of the 2020 GameChanger Awards presented by Family Values @ Work, a coalition advocating for family-friendly workplace policies, for our union’s efforts to win paid parental leave for federal workers this year. 

Thanks to our union’s years-long efforts, Congress last December passed a bill that gave two million federal workers a new benefit – 12 weeks of paid parental leave available to both new mothers and fathers and adoptive parents. The new benefit took effect Oct. 1 this year.  

“This meant that [federal workers] no longer have to choose between the health of their families and their paychecks. It also meant that we now have a national standard in this country – something for all of us to build on, to fight for,” said Family Values @ Work’s Labor Project Director Carol Joyner as she presented the Labor Champion Ward to AFGE and NTEU in a virtual award ceremony.  

“When [Congress] passed the Federal Employees Paid Leave Act, it meant that federal workers now had access to paid parental leave for both men and women, which means that built in this policy there is gender equity. It also means that thousands of babies all over the country will be born with a healthy and loving start. It is for these reasons – fighting for our rights, fighting for paid family and medical leave, and fight for our children – that we consider AFGE and NTEU our labor champions. We are so proud to stand with you,” she added. 

AFGE President Everett Kelley thanked Family Values @ Work for the recognition, saying federal employees need a game changer after four years of Donald J Trump’s administration. COVID-19 has been a real-world example of how much of the government’s work can and should be performed in a way that support families.  

“While federal employees are fortunate to have paid sick leave and paid annual leave, and last year after many years obtained paid parental leave, the pandemic exposed the shortcomings in government support for federal employees with families to care for,” Kelley said. “Before the pandemic, the administration was taking away from federal employees the right to telework. Now telework has been proven to be the lifeline not only for federal employees but for federal agencies and citizens who rely on us for service.”  

“Flexible hours, flexibility with regard to where work is performed. COVID-safe workspaces. Paid leave to take care of family members who are sick,” he added. “All of these issues can and should be subject to collective bargaining, and now that we’re ridded of Trump, I’m hopeful that we will soon be at the table working out solutions for all of these issues.” 

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