This week, Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) introduced H.R. 1534, the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act, which would provide 12 weeks of paid family leave for federal employees for all instances covered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). As you may know, FMLA currently
guarantees only unpaid leave for the following circumstances:
- Because of the birth of a child of the employee and in order to care for such child;
- Because of the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care;
- In order to care for the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent, of the employee, if such spouse, son, daughter, or parent has a serious health condition;
- Because of a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform the functions of the employee’s position; and
- Because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that the spouse, or a son, daughter, or parent of the employee is on covered active duty (or has been notified of an impending call or order to covered active duty) in the Armed Forces.
Few federal employees can afford to take weeks of unpaid leave. While the FMLA has played a vital role for workers, no federal employee should be forced to choose between a paycheck and caring for their family.
The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act is a win-win for the government — employees would be allowed time to bond with their new child or take care of a family member with a serious health condition, and agencies would be better able to recruit and retain talented individuals.