Washington, D.C.— Federal employees would receive six weeks of paid leave to welcome a new child into their families under bipartisan legislation introduced today and strongly supported by the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).
The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) would bring the government’s family leave policy in line with many private sector employers and help recruit and retain high-quality federal employees, said NTEU National President Tony Reardon.
“New parents have enough to worry about without being pressured to immediately return to work because they can’t afford to stay home and be with their newborn, adopted child or foster child,” Reardon said. “This legislation recognizes that as a family grows, it needs time to bond, and nothing could be more important than allowing our federal workers the opportunity to nurture their new children full-time at this critical moment of their lives.”
Current law allows all employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a family member. Under the legislation introduced today, the fathers and mothers who work for the federal government would be able to collect their paycheck for six of those weeks.
Reardon joined Maloney, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, (D-Md.), Rep. Don Beyer, (D-Va.), and Rep. Jamie Raskin, (D-Md.) for a press conference at the Capitol Monday to announce the legislation.
“As a father of four, I know personally how important it is to have the time to bond with your child,” Reardon said.
Paid parental leave, a benefit already offered by some of the nation’s leading private companies, would reduce turnover in the federal workforce by improving morale, loyalty and job satisfaction. It would also appeal to younger workers who are less likely to have large amounts of sick time, vacation time or financial savings, according to the National Partnership for Women and Families.
Reardon called on Congress to approve this bill to help the government’s leave policy meet 21st century standards.
In a letter to Rep. Maloney and Rep. Comstock supporting their legislation, Reardon cited a recent study that found employers offering paid parental leave had higher levels of employee retention because first-time parents were more likely to return to their job.
“Paid parental leave is a win-win situation. The Pentagon recognized this last year, when it increased paid maternity leave to 12 weeks and paid paternity leave to 14 days,” Reardon wrote.
“Rep. Maloney and Rep. Comstock are to be commended for teaming up on this legislation that is long overdue and would make federal employment a more family-friendly choice,” Reardon said.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.