Federal Workers Get up to 12 Weeks Leave in New Bill

April 18, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - A U.S. House committee has given its stamp of approval to a measure giving federal workers four weeks of paid parental leave and the ability to use sick leave to take another eight weeks.

An announcement on the Web site of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee said the vote on H.R. 5781 was21-10.

A statement on the bill pointed out that the combined 12 weeks of leave available under the bill means federal workers would get the full benefit currently allowed under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act introduced in July by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), originally called for eight weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers (See  Lawmakers Revive Federal Worker Parental Leave Bill ).  However, a substitute bill from committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-California) modified Maloney’s bill to trim the amount of paid parental leave to four weeks.

Republicans protested that despite the reduction in the number of weeks of paid leave, the legislation would impose too many expenses on employers. Offering a new benefit to federal workers is also not wise during an economic downturn, the Republicans claimed, according to BNA.

Waxman promised that the Congressional Budget Office would estimate the cost of providing four weeks of paid parental leave to federal employees before the bill is sent to the House floor.