Paid Parental Leave Possible for 2.1M Federal Workers

Allen Smith, J.D. By Allen Smith, J.D. December 9, 2019
Paid Parental Leave Possible for 2.1M Federal Workers

​The White House and Congress reportedly have reached a tentative agreement on granting 12 weeks of paid parental leave to 2.1 million civilian federal workers. Military service members already may take 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child. Under the tentative deal, federal civilian workers also could take paid leave to care for a new baby after birth, adoption or the start of foster care, reports The Wall Street Journal. We've gathered articles on paid leave from SHRM Online and other trusted media outlets.

Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the new benefit, employees must have worked for the federal government for a calendar year and stay at least 12 weeks after the time off. The latter requirement might be waived for a physical or mental impairment that prevents the parent from returning. "This will mark a huge step forward towards making paid leave a reality for all Americans," said Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and senior advisor, who played a pivotal role in negotiating the tentative deal.

(The Wall Street Journal)

Deal Still Must Be Approved

Many people close to the negotiations emphasized that any final deal still must be approved by Congress and the president. The paid parental leave is reportedly in exchange for making "Space Force" a new branch of the U.S. military and is part of a defense authorization bill that is anticipated to pass this month.

(The Washington Post)

Bipartisan Paid-Leave Plan Introduced Earlier This Year

A bipartisan paid-leave plan that uses the child tax credit to provide new parents with immediate funds to finance time off from work or to offset the cost of infant care was released for discussion July 24 by U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz. "In many cases, the first year of [a child's] life is the most expensive for a family," Cassidy said in a statement. "This legislation addresses this, focuses resources and eases financial strain to provide a longer bonding period for the family."

(SHRM Online)

Democratic Presidential Candidates Support Paid Family Leave

Paid family leave is or soon will be required in eight states—California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington—as well as the District of Columbia. The laws in Connecticut, Oregon, Washington and Washington, D.C., haven't yet gone into effect. For now, no federal law requires paid family leave among private-sector employers but Democratic presidential candidates would like to change that.


[SHRM members-only toolkit: Managing Family and Medical Leave]

Many Americans Support Federal Paid-Family-Leave Legislation

A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that Americans largely support paid leave for new mothers and fathers, as well as for workers who need to care for a family member with a serious health condition or deal with their own medical issues. But the public is sharply divided over whether the government should require employers to offer this benefit or let employers decide for themselves.

(SHRM Online)

Some Employers Offer Paid Leave

Some employers offer paid leave for new parents, with about a third (34 percent) of organizations offering paid leave to mothers and slightly fewer (30 percent) to fathers, according to the Society for Human Resource Management's 2019 Employee Benefits survey. One organization in five reported offering family leave, paid or unpaid, beyond what is required by both the federal Family and Medical Leave Act and state mandates.

(SHRM Online)


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