What’s in the Final FY2021 NDAA? Annual Leave Carryover, Paid Parental Leave Extension, and More

Categories: DoD, The Insider

The House and Senate last week passed the fiscal 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) by large bipartisan margins with several provisions supported by AFGE. 

“This critical legislation recognizes the invaluable role that federal and D.C. government workers perform in service to the nation and includes many provisions that our union strongly supports,” AFGE President Everett Kelley said. “On behalf of the 700,000 employees represented by AFGE, I thank members of the House and Senate for their hard work on this bill and their commitment to supporting our dedicated employees in the Department of Defense and governmentwide.” 

AFGE also encourages members of Congress to remain committed to supporting the NDAA if President Trump makes good on his threat to veto the legislation. 

“Given the overwhelming bipartisan support for the final bill, and the importance of this legislation to the military and a functioning civil service, it is critical for lawmakers to ensure final passage in the event of a White House veto,” Kelley said. “Failure to approve the NDAA before the end of the year would, among other things, result in tens of thousands of DoD employees deployed or permanently working overseas incurring a sizable pay cut due to a lapse in their special pay authority.” 

Below are details on some of the key workforce provisions included in the NDAA that won the support of AFGE: 

Government-wide provisions: 

  • Annual Leave Carryover: Permits federal employees under Title 5 of the U.S. Code to carry over an additional 25% of annual leave into 2021, in recognition of their dedicated service during the pandemic.
  • Paid Parental Leave Extension: Extends 12 weeks of paid parental leave to approximately 100,000 federal employees outside of Title 5 who were inadvertently excluded from last year’s legislation, including workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Transportation Security Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, and D.C.’s Courts and Public Defender Service. 
  • Enhanced Protections from Discrimination and Retaliation: Requires each federal agency to establish a model Equal Employment Opportunity program that is independent of the agency’s human resources or general counsel offices and establishes requirements related to complaints of discrimination and retaliation in the workplace.

DoD-specific provisions: 

  • Restriction on DoD Workforce Cuts: Prohibits the Secretary of Defense from reducing programmed funding levels for the civilian workforce unless the department assesses the impact of such a reduction on workload, military force structure, lethality, readiness, operational effectiveness, stress on the military force, and fully burdened costs. 
  • Protecting Military Medical Treatment Facilities: Adds requirements before DoD can downsize or realign military medical treatment facilities. 
  • Commercial Product Determinations: Requires contracting officers to consult with the Defense Contract Management Agency and the Defense Contract Audit Agency, and consider the views of public- and private-sector entities, when documenting a product or service as a commercial item. 
  • Merging Commissaries and Exchanges: Requires DoD to perform a new business case analysis for consolidating military exchanges and commissaries and prohibits DoD from proceeding with any consolidation of DoD’s resale entities until the House and Senate Armed Services committees have reviewed and approved the updated analysis. 

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