By Pension and Benefits Editorial Staff
On December 10, the White House announced its support of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which it characterized as advancing many of President Trump’s priorities, including its provision of up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees. The White House said that it hopes to receive the appropriations bill for signature.
The paid leave provision, authored by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), would provide two million federal workers with 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child after birth, adoption, or the initiation of foster care.
New benefit lauded. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) had already backed the bipartisan agreement, which it said mirrors the benefit that service members have received since 2016 under a separate military policy. Under the bipartisan compromise, employees will not be able to use the paid leave for other absences covered without pay by the Family Medical Leave Act, such as family medical emergencies or issues related to a family member’s military deployment, the AFGE noted.
“AFGE has been fighting to provide all federal workers with paid family leave for decades, and the provision in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act is a large step in the right direction for full family leave,” the union’s National Secretary-Treasurer, Everett Kelley. “The hard work by our members is finally beginning to pay off. This new paid benefit will help federal employees better balance their work and home lives, and it will give agencies a needed advantage when recruiting and retaining workers to carry out critical missions on behalf of our country.”
Even the Center for American Progress (CAP), which expressed disappointment with the other provisions of the NDAA as currently drafted, praised the paid leave proposal. Kelly Magsamen, vice president for National Security and International Policy at CAP, attributed the parental leave provision’s inclusion “to the longstanding leadership of progressives in Congress.” She said the bill “brings us closer to achieving a national paid leave policy that covers all family and medical needs and is accessible to all workers.”
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