FEDERAL EMPLOYEES, THE TIME HAS COME! REPS INTRODUCE BILL TO PROVIDE PAID PARENTAL LEAVE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

May 25, 2000
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Dem. Chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues, along with Reps. Tom Davis (R-VA), Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) introduced the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2000. The bill provides six weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child for federal employees. Federal employees currently do not have the option of taking paid parental leave.

At the press conference, Congresswoman Maloney delivered the following remarks:

"Good afternoon! I am so happy to be here today - to stand here with my colleagues, and to talk about a bill which may change the experience of being a federal employee as we know it. Thank you to Tom Davis, and to Steny Hoyer, and to my dear friend Lynn Woolsey. I would also like to thank Colleen Kelly, National President of the National Treasury Employees Union and David Schlein, Vice President of the American Federation of Government Employees- AFL-CIO for working with us and supporting this bill.

"We are here today in support of families. Everyone talks about supporting families, but when you look at the policies, they are not as supportive as they should be. In a federal government that says it is family friendly, public employees should not lose pay for becoming parents.

"Today, we are introducing a bill that will allow federally employed new parents to take up to six weeks to be full-time parents for the birth or adoption of a child - without having to worry about losing their pay.

"Many private sector companies in the U.S., such as Bank of America, New York Life, and IBM

already provide paid leave. Now, if our bill passes and your boss is the US government, you will have the right to take paid parental leave too.

"In 1960, only19% of married women with children under age 6 were in the paid workforce and there was no right to paid parental leave to care for newborns. Today, in the year 2000, 64% of married women and 67% of single women with children under age 6 are in the paid workforce

and there STILL is no right to paid parental leave.

. "The federal government should set an example of being a family-friendly workplace and offer

the basic benefits to compete with the private sector. Paid leave will do that.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics says that nothing is better in the earliest years for a child's physical, emotional, or social development than face-to-face parent and child time. Paid leave will do that.

"I would like to close by thanking the number of federally employed moms who I've spoken with about this issue and who I had hoped would share their stories with us today. Unfortunately, none of them was able to attend. Unless you have stowed away all your vacation and sick days, there is no way to take off even one day without taking a cut in your paycheck.

"As Dee Kerr, an attorney advisor at NASA told me: 'Ironically, one of the reasons that I am reluctant to attend is that I would have to take about 4 hours of annual leave to do so and I am trying to save that leave in the event that I become pregnant again.'

"Today, I am so proud to introduce this legislation that will help moms like Dee Kerr. Thank you."

 

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