(WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), representing more than 600,000 federal and District of Columbia employees across the country, urges Congress to pass the groundbreaking Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act.
“The time has come for the federal government to set the standard for U.S. employers on paid parental leave,” said AFGE President John Gage. “The benefits to children and families of four weeks of paid parental leave are enormous and long lasting. This sets an example for private sector employers.”
The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act was introduced in the 110th Congress despite strong opposition from the Bush Administration. The bill passed in the House in 2008 with a wide bipartisan vote however, the companion bill did not receive a vote on the Senate floor before the end of Congress. “Enactment of this legislation during the 111th Congress is a priority for AFGE,” stated Gage.
AFGE Legislative and Political Director Beth Moten explained that, “Despite the protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act, federal workers are among those who must choose between a paycheck and meeting their family obligations because they currently have no parental leave.” Under current law, no part of the leave under FMLA is guaranteed to be ‘paid leave,’ a fact that effectively prevents many workers from using FMLA at all. “It’s an unnecessary hardship that can be solved by this legislation,” continued Moten.
The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, which would extend four weeks of paid parental leave to all Executive and Legislative Branch federal employees, provides an opportunity for parents to bond with newborn infants or newly adopted children and sets an example for private sector employers. It also takes as a given that all parents – male, female and adoptive – deserve equal treatment.
“The members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce, in particular Chairman Lynch and bill sponsor Rep. Maloney, have proven their dedication to working families with the passage of this bill and we thank them for their insight and commitment to the federal workforce. We urge members of Congress to pass this important and essential piece of legislation,” concluded Gage.