Washington, D.C.— Federal employees would receive six weeks of paid leave to welcome a new child into their families under legislation introduced in the Senate and strongly supported by the National Treasury Employees Union.
The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, sponsored by Sen. Brian Schatz, (D-Hawaii), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, (D-NY) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen, (D-Md.) would help recruit and retain high-quality federal employees who want to grow their families without suffering the financial setback of unpaid leave, said NTEU National President Tony Reardon.
“Bringing home a new child – through birth, adoption or fostering – is an exciting and special event and parents should be able to dedicate themselves to their family during those first few weeks without worrying about losing their income,” Reardon said.
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.
Paid parental leave, a benefit already offered by many of the nation’s leading private companies, would improve morale, loyalty and job satisfaction within the federal workforce. 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.
A recent study by IMPAQ International and the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, as part of a study funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, found that paid parental leave gives new mothers a greater ability to balance their career and caregiving responsibilities, and makes it more likely they return to their job, which reduces turnover for the employer.
The Pentagon last year increased paid maternity leave to 12 weeks and paid paternity leave to 14 days.
“This legislation from Sen. Schatz, Sen. Gillibrand and Sen. Van Hollen would put federal employees on equal footing with their counterparts in the private sector and make civil service a more family-friendly career,” Reardon said.
NTEU represents 150,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments.