Congresswoman introduces paid parental leave bill...again

After a similar bill she introduced last year died in committee, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) again is calling for paid parental leave for federal employees.

The bill — called the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2018 — would give federal employees 12 weeks of paid leave in the case of a birth or adoption of a child.  

“Today most large employers provide at least 12 weeks paid and this is a competitiveness issue as well as a retention issue for the federal workplace to attract and maintain the top talent in the workplace,” Comstock said in a June 29 statement.

She said her office provides 12 weeks of paid family leave and she is encouraging her colleagues to adopt the same policy.

The bill also ensures that federal employees would not have to deplete their sick or annual leave before being able to take parental leave and asks that the director of the Office of Management and Budget institute regulations that would make up to 16 weeks of paid parental leave available to an employee for the purposes of competitive recruitment and retention.

National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President Richard G. Thissen commended Comstock for her efforts.

“NARFE thanks Congresswoman Comstock for championing this long-overdue policy,” he said. “The United States of America is the only developed country in the world that does not provide paid parental leave for its civil servants. It is past time to do so.”

Read the full bill here.

Reader comments

Fri, Jul 13, 2018 Randall T. San Diego

If moms get paid maternal leave, dads should as well. It's 2018. More and more households of people who are in their early 30's or younger are headed by female breadwinners who can't afford to take 12 weeks of maternity leave or whatever because they are self employed. Men deserve the same rights as women.

Wed, Jul 11, 2018

I personally have had to use advanced annual as well as advanced sick leave due to the birth of a child. Prior to her birth I was place on bed rest and used the leave that I had available plus some of the advanced sick leave. It took me 2 years to get to the point where I almost had my advanced sick leave paid back, but with doctor’s appointments for my children and my health situation that never happened. I have remained in the hole with leave since 2015 and don’t see a way out. Things happen, so I agree that they should provide 12 weeks for maternity leave.

Tue, Jul 3, 2018

While this is a good gesture, it's unnecessary. There are many avenues available to grant paid leave. Employees can request advance annual and sick leave that would more than cover the initial recovery period. Anything above that, should be at the employees expense. 12 weeks is just too much and unnecessary. And this is coming from someone who is expecting her 3rd child. Granted, if you're new to the federal government, then there are decisions you have to make but not at the expense of the taxpayer.

Tue, Jul 3, 2018

Here’s the thing. I am out of my child bearing years. I don’t abuse my SL and carry over 240 hrs of AL every year. I do this in case one day I come up with a catastrophic illness. I’m divorced so I can’t depend on a second income and I won’t depend on kindness of co-workers to donate leave. I’m responsible for myself. If you want to have a child, save your leave. Plan it. With my first born I had 4 weeks of maternity leave because I had a rough pregnancy. I was ok with that. I didn’t expect the government to give me something others don’t get because I wanted to have a child. I think 12 weeks is a ridiculous amount of time to be off after having a baby. I am the oldest member of my work group and if everyone in my workgroup chose to have a baby all in the same year I would be spread pretty thin for coverage.

Tue, Jul 3, 2018 Agnes Lanham, MD

I think Barbara is right. it takes too much to get back together after a baby is born and if you don't have enough Annual then you have to go without pay. I am not at a child-bearing age anymore. But I had difficulties when I was diagnosed with a terminal disease and taking treatment 5 days a week. I was told to use up my annual, sick then use donated hours which left me with 0. And so I eventually went leave without pay. I would also suggest that the provision for not exhausting your annual leave but use your sick and donated is ok for me. I was so exhausted after treatment which is ongoing that I never Had time left to take any vacation or get away for a while to take my mine off the illness. It is tricky. I was a contractor before becoming FED for several years. We had short term disability insurance which kicks in and you can stay home for 3 months and be paid. Salaries are higher with Private sector. Benefits are still great with Corporations out there with 401 K option, sick, leave etc. The difference between Gov't and private sector is just the supplemental life insurance being paid which corporations don't pay. But they also match. For those who have only worked in the Gov't long term, do not know this. I took a $35,000 salary cut to get into Gov't. Coming in new into Gov't does not automatically give you big money. The annual salary increase offered is low 1.7% while you get $10,000, $20,000 increase when you switch jobs. People have to research before they speak. I need a bill that will enable Dept. of Education to take into consideration, Terminal diseases whose bills for treatment are high such as Cancer, those sponsoring students in school into consideration of income when they only work wit Gross. These bills have to be figured out and the student loans reduced. The Income option is not working. You pay $1,000 monthly or more for student loan, you are bound to default. People need something comfortable to pay so they can be consistent in their payment instead of defaulting and messing up credits. That is my take.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
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