The House has just passed the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, H.R. 5781 by a vote of 278-146. This legislation will help families by providing four weeks of paid parental leave to federal and congressional employees. In addition to the four weeks, employees will also be allowed to use any accrued annual or sick leave for parental leave. Unlike current law, employees using their sick leave for parental leave will not need to demonstrate a medical need for the leave. The bill also authorizes the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to extend the parental leave period to up to eight weeks. Enactment of this measure will ensure that the federal government, as an employer, is providing the type of benefits offered to government workers in other industrialized countries. This family friendly measure will also have a positive impact on the ability of the federal government to attract and retain a highly qualified workforce.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14), the primary sponsor of the bill, spoke in favor:
|Rep. Maloney: “This is the 21st Century. Both the father and the mother have to work. And this is an important family-friendly, family-value legislation. How many times have we heard the opposite friends on the opposite side of the aisle talk about family values? Well, today we are going to have an opportunity to actually vote and do something to help families.”|
Rep. Henry Waxman, Chairman of the Oversight Committee, spoke in favor:
|Rep. Waxman: “There they go again, coming up with a gimmick because they don’t want the underlying bill. If they don’t want the underlying bill, let them vote no. But what they’ve offered instead is a motion to recommit promptly which kills the bill. So I urge my colleagues who believe that parents ought to be able to bond with their children and have a paid family leave on the birth of a child or the adoption of a newborn that they vote against this motion to recommit.”|