Becoming a Parent is No Reason to Lose a Paycheck, Say Congressmen
WASHINGTON U.S. Representatives Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD), Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), and Tom Davis (R-VA) on Wednesday introduced the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (H.R. 3158), bipartisan legislation that would provide all federal employees with eight weeks of paid parental leave. Federal employees currently must deplete their annual and sick time to take parental leave.
By failing to provide paid parental leave, the federal government lags behind both the private sector (53 percent of private-sector employers provide some form of paid parental leave), and many industrialized nations, say the Congressmen.
In addition to giving federal employees eight weeks of paid leave, H.R. 3158 would allow them to use any accumulated annual or sick leave to offset the 12 weeks of unpaid leave guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Reps. Hoyer, Maloney, and Davis introduced similar legislation (H.R. 5148) in the 109th Congress. Last year's legislation only made it as far as the House Committee on Government Reform.
Every day federal employees provide a variety of services vital to the progress of this nation," said Rep. Hoyer. The work that these men and women do is critically important, and their compensation and treatment in the workplace needs to fairly reflect that. Granting these valuable employees paid parental leave - a benefit that is commonplace in the private sector - is a simple way to recognize the value of the federal workforce as well as strengthen the governments ability to compete for employee talent.
The federal government may refer to its leave policies as family friendly, but the reality is that its forcing many of its employees to choose between their paycheck and their new child, said Rep. Maloney. Antiquated family leave policies are also a talent drain on the government theyre an incentive for skilled people to look elsewhere for work at the very time when our government needs them most. The federal government should be leading the way and providing its employees with a truly family friendly workplace.
Today, private firms use pro-family, pro-child initiatives such as the measure advocated here as highly effective recruiting and retention tools. They know parents dont want to choose between losing a job or months of pay and spending irreplaceable time with a newborn. Parental leave is the norm in most industrialized nations and most leading U.S. companies. Our government is in the midst of a human capital crisis, and this legislation is one way to address that problem, said Rep. Davis.