February 14, 2017

Van Hollen, Schatz, Gillibrand Introduce Legislation to Provide Working Parents with Paid Leave

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawai'i), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (FEPPLA), legislation that would provide federal employees with six weeks of paid leave, under the Family and Medical Leave Act, for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.

"As the only industrialized country without paid parental leave, the United States leaves too many mothers and fathers no choice but to return to work mere days after bringing a new child into their home. As we fight for this right for all American workers, the federal government can set an important example by providing paid parental leave for civil servants,"said Senator Van Hollen. "Not only would this legislation benefit many Maryland families, it would help the federal government attract and retain the best and brightest workers to serve the public."

"While private companies across the country are beginning to see the benefits of providing paid family leave, the United States is still the only industrial nation in the world without a program that gives working parents the time off and income they need to care for a new child," said Senator Schatz. "Our bill will provide federal workers with six weeks of paid leave, making sure no federal employee has to make the impossible choice between caring for their family and keeping their job."

"Forcing employees to choose between their family and their paycheck makes no sense and it's bad for our economy,"
said Senator Gillibrand. "FEPPLA is an important step forward in addressing the lack of a national paid family leave program in this country, and its enactment would provide the Federal government with an important tool that many employers already use to attract and retain employees. When we force families to choose between a sick child or dying parent and their income, we all lose and that's why I'll keep pushing for paid family leave for every American worker."

Although the Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to medical and family issues, it does not provide any paid parental leave.Women are most affected by this, as they are more likely than men to have to take this type of leave.

Studies have shown that providing paid parental leave for federal employees would save the government at least $50 million annually in turnover and replacement costs. It could also prevent the departure of 2,650 female federal employees annually, while attracting and retaining talented workers.

The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act is supported by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU), National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE), and the Federal-Postal Coalition.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representative by U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.).