President Threatens to Veto Family-Friendly Parental Leave Bill

Jun 16, 2008
Press Release
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), author of “The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act” (H.R. 5781), legislation that would give federal employees four weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, released the following statement after the Bush Administration threatened to veto the bill.  The legislation is scheduled for a House vote this week:

“As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government should be setting the national standard with workplace policies that are truly family-friendly.  Instead, it is forcing many of its employees to choose between their paycheck and their new child – an impossible choice, especially in these tough economic times.   

“This veto threat is further evidence that the Bush Administration is out-of-touch with the needs of middle-class families.  Most families no longer have a stay-at-home parent to care for a new child.  While federal employees, like all American workers, are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave, many cannot afford to forego pay for that long.  To be paid for any of their time off, they must use accumulated sick and vacation time.  This may work for the lucky family that never gets sick or takes a vacation, but it’s unrealistic for most. 

“At a time when the federal government is struggling to recruit and retain the most qualified workers, especially younger workers, a paid leave benefit will help make it a more competitive employer.  The federal government will never be able to compete with salaries in the private sector, but it should be able to provide comparable, if not better, benefits.

“The U.S. is the only industrialized country that doesn’t provide its workers with paid family leave.  Some private American companies are stepping up to the plate and voluntarily offering paid leave to their employees.  They know paid leave makes good business sense - in addition to reducing turnover, paid parental leave can lead to increased productivity, better morale, and reduced absenteeism.  In fact, a survey of Fortune 100 companies showed that most firms offered between six and eight weeks of paid leave to new mothers.

“If the President Bush truly supports family values, he will reevaluate his misguided veto threat of this important legislation.” 

Rep. Maloney introduced H.R. 5781 with Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Tom Davis (R-VA).  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, Postal Service, and the District of Columbia Chairman Danny Davis (D-IL) helped move the bill to the floor.  Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and John Warner (R-VA) introduced companion legislation in the Senate on Monday.

For additional information on the “Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act,” including a comprehensive background memo on the legislation, please visit: