Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act Reported by House Committee

May 6, 2009
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) applauded the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today for reporting her “Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act,” H.R. 626.

“The current recession only makes paid family leave more important. No Federal employee who’s a new parent should be forced to choose between their paycheck and their newborn – or newly adopted – child in those vital first few weeks home,” Maloney said. “As the nation’s largest employer, the Federal Government can – and should – lead the way on this issue.”

“I’m grateful to Chairman Towns for his support today and I look forward to swift passage by the House,” Maloney said. “Senator Jim Webb has sponsored the companion to H.R. 626 in the Senate, and with his support I hope we can get this bill to the President’s desk in short order.”


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Rep. Maloney’s opening statement (as written) for today’s markup:

I’d like to thank Chairman Towns for his leadership of this Committee and particularly on issues of work-family balance and paid parental leave.
 
Of course, I’d also like to thank Chairman Lynch for his support and for shepherding HR 626 through Subcommittee. 

I have introduced this legislation for the past 10 years and was pleased when a bill identical to it passed the House in a bipartisan manner, 278 – 146, during the 110th Congress. 

HR 626 responds to the needs of tens of thousands of working families in the federal government by providing 4 weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. 

Without paid leave, instead of celebrating the birth of a child, many of these families are forced
to choose between a paycheck and caring for their newborn – a choice no one should have to make.

In 1993, the very first bill I voted on was the Family and Medical Leave Act. 

This landmark legislation has made a critical impact in people’s lives.  However, there have been no changes to the law in the past 16 years even as the American family has changed dramatically. 

Men and women are both in the workforce, with families reliant on both salaries in order to get by. 

Even before the economic crisis, millions of dual-earner couples were struggling to stay afloat on two incomes.  Now, with massive job losses many of those families are scrambling to pay the bills on just one income.

Without paid leave, the birth of a child means that many working families are left with no income at all.

By providing 4 weeks of paid leave to federal workers (who currently receive no paid leave for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child), we can diminish the risk of real economic hardship for the 1.8 million employees of America’s largest employer – the federal government.

There are many reasons we should vote out this bill today:

HR 626 is pay-go neutral. 

While some have cited concerns about the costs of this reform, CBO has stated that this legislation is PAY-GO neutral and that “enacting [the bill] would not affect direct spending or receipts.” 

To be clear, there is no cost to the taxpayers in the form of increased taxes or decreased revenue. Not reflected in the CBO score is the cost savings of providing paid parental leave. 

This benefit can save the government money by reducing turnover.  It costs roughly 20% of an employee’s salary to hire and train new workers, compared with about 8% to provide a long-standing employee with a few weeks of paid leave.

HR 626 helps families while helping the economy. 

New parents spend an average of $11,000 in added expenses in the year a child is born.  By ensuring that new families’ incomes stay steady, paid leave insures that their consumption remains steady too, and this is what drives economic growth. 

When we invest in families by providing paid parental leave, we are investing in our future. 

Paid leave improves children’s health outcomes, lowers the mortality rate (ours is the highest among industrialized countries), improves the economic status of families, and enhances both employee productivity and economic returns to employers. 

163 countries recognize the importance of providing paid leave to families.  The United States, along with Lesotho, Swaziland, and Papua New Guinea, does not.

Finally, I ask my colleagues on the other side of this issue:  When is the right time to enact family friendly policies?

I mentioned earlier that I have introduced this bill for the past 10 years –in both good and bad economic times. When the other side was in the majority, during a period of economic growth, they did nothing.

Now that families are struggling, it is time to help them out in a modest way, providing 4 weeks of paid leave.  Now more than ever, families cannot afford to go without a paycheck.
 
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Background:
In the 110th Congress, FEPPLA (H.R. 5781) passed the House on 6/19/2008 by 278 – 146.

It was supported by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), Federally Employed Women, Moms Rising, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU).

For additional information on “The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act,” including an extensive background memo on last year’s version of FEPPLA, please click here.


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