Washington D.C. – Federal employees would receive paid leave to care for critically ill family members under legislation introduced in Congress today and endorsed by the National Treasury Employees Union.
The Comprehensive Paid Leave for Federal Employees Act would improve the existing parental leave program for federal employees by extending it to also cover serious medical conditions affecting themselves or a spouse, child or parent. It could also be used to help a family member who is active-duty military prepare for a deployment. Each federal worker would be eligible for up to 12 weeks of the paid time off.
“NTEU and the federal workforce rightfully celebrated the paid parental leave program implemented last year and we are equally proud to endorse legislation expanding it to cover other serious family medical emergencies,” NTEU National President Tony Reardon said. “We all know that unpaid family and medical leave is not an option for many federal employees who can’t afford to sacrifice personal income when a loved one falls ill, and this law provides a simple solution.”
The legislation was announced by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney of New York; House Armed Services Committee Chair Adam Smith of Washington; House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut; Reps. Don Beyer and Gerry Connolly of Virginia; Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton of Washington D.C.; and Rep. Jackie Speier of California.
Reardon joined Maloney and Congressional leaders in announcing the legislation Thursday.
“Chairwoman Maloney, the original architect of paid parental leave for federal workers, and her House colleagues are to be commended for their pro-worker, pro-family legislation that will help recruit and retain the skilled civil servants our government needs,” Reardon said. “A comprehensive leave program for the federal workforce is long overdue and NTEU will actively work to build support for this critical legislation.”
In order to qualify, a federal employee must have worked for a federal agency for at least 12 months. Importantly, the legislation does not require an employee exhaust all of their sick or annual leave before applying for the paid family and medical leave.
“Obviously a serious illness in the family is devastating and allowing federal employees to care for their loved ones in crisis without going into debt or missing mortgage or rent payments is a compassionate workplace policy that will protect middle class families around the country,” Reardon said.
NTEU represents employees in 33 federal agencies and offices.