Washington D.C. – Federal employees can have time away from work to welcome a child into their lives under a momentous new law that takes effect Thursday and propels the government into the ranks of more family-friendly workplaces.
“For the first time in history, federal workers won’t have to choose between their families and their paychecks when it comes to bonding with their new arrivals, whether by birth, adoption or fostering,” said NTEU National President Tony Reardon. “Today we celebrate paid parental leave and the life-changing opportunity this program will provide to civil servants for generations to come.”
Congress in December approved 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees, effective for children born, adopted or placed for fostering, starting on Thursday.
“For too long, federal employees have had to rush back to work because they couldn’t afford unpaid leave at the precise time that their families needed them at home,” Reardon said. “Giving them up to 12 weeks to nurture a new child without worrying about paying the bills or going into debt makes the U.S. government an employer that actually values working families.”
NTEU first endorsed legislation for the program in 2000 when it was introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, and the union made sure the voices of federal workers were heard on Capitol Hill ever since.
“In addition to the obvious benefit to workers, we believe paid parental leave makes the federal government a more attractive place for the next generation of scientists, accountants, law enforcement officers, engineers, clerical workers, auditors, public health experts and many others to have rewarding careers in public service,” Reardon said.
NTEU represents about 150,000 employees at 33 federal agencies and departments.