On 20th Anniversary of Family & Medical Leave Act, Reps. Maloney, Connolly & Norton Push Paid Parental Leave for Federal Employees

Press Contact: 
Jon Houston (202) 225-7944

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Gerald Connolly (D-VA), and Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today introduced the “Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act” (FEPPLA), which would provide all federal employees with four weeks of paid parental leave upon the birth or adoption of a child.

"Raising a child is the single most important task a human being can take on, yet the United States lags behind the rest of the world in supporting and encouraging new parents," Maloney said. "Currently, federal employees must deplete their annual leave and sick time to take time off after the arrival of a child. With this bill the Federal government can lead the way, make ‘family-friendly’ more than a buzzword, and ensure that both newborns and the government benefit. Families should not have to choose between a paycheck and getting their newborn home and settled in, especially in these economic times.”

"This family-friendly legislation for federal employees renews America's commitment to advancing policies to help working families meet the demands of parenthood in today’s economy," said Connolly. "It is time to provide our federal workforce with parental leave benefits comparable to what is found in the private sector.  Our treatment of our dedicated federal workforce is a reflection of our country's values.”    

“Family-caring policies must begin with the birth of a child. Four weeks of paid leave at least puts the federal government in the same family-focused universe as our closest economic peers, who have long regarded considerably longer periods of leave as necessary for newborns and their parents alike," said Norton.

In addition to giving federal employees four weeks of paid leave, FEPPLA would allow them to use any accumulated annual or sick leave to offset the 12 weeks of unpaid leave guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

By failing to provide paid parental leave, the federal government lags behind both the private sector (53% of private-sector employers provide some form of paid parental leave), and most industrialized nations around the world. 


The bill previously passed the House in the 111th Congress with bipartisan by a vote of 258-154. In 2009, the FEPPLA bill was determined by the Congressional Budget Office to have no “PAYGO” implications.

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Background:


For information on last Congress’s version, visit: http://maloney.house.gov/index.php?option=com_issues&task=view_issue&issue=263&parent=21&Itemid=35

● Most people would be surprised to learn that the federal government does not currently provide any paid parental leave for its employees. Employees must cobble together accrued annual and sick leave if they want to receive a paycheck while they are out.
● There could not be a worse time to ask parents to choose between their job and their new child than during difficult economic times. Losing either parent’s salary poses real hardships for working families, especially in the face of thousands of dollars of extra baby expenses and rising prices for food and gas.
● As the nation’s largest employer, with over 1.8 million employees all over the country, the federal government should be a leader in family-friendly workplace policy. Right now, we’re lagging behind.
● The current practice of saving unused vacation time and sick days may work for the lucky family who never gets sick or takes a vacation, but it is unrealistic for most families.
● The federal government is struggling to recruit and retain a qualified workforce. While we cannot compete with salaries in the private sector, we should be able to provide comparable, if not better, benefits.
● The federal workforce is aging, indicating difficulty hiring younger workers. The average age of federal workers increased from 43.6 years to 46.7 years from 1994-2004. Family-friendly benefits could help attract younger workers.
● Most families no longer have a stay-at-home parent to care for a new child and they can’t afford to forgo pay for any length of time.
● A middle class family spends nearly $11,000 on expenses for an infant such as food, clothing, health care, and child care, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
●A general lack of infant care requires that working parents take leave to care for their newborn. Government-sponsored day care facilities, for example, typically do not care for infants younger than 10 to 12 weeks old.
● 75 percent of Fortune 100 Companies provide paid leave to new mothers. The median length of leave is six to eight weeks.
● Turnover is more expensive than providing paid leave. The average cost of turnover is about 20 percent of an employee’s annual salary. Four weeks of paid leave is less than 8 percent of an employee’s salary.
● New parents who have access to leave when their first child is born are more likely to stay with their employer than those who aren’t.
● The lack of paid parental leave puts federal agencies far behind what is common in every other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) nation.

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