Lawmakers Revive Federal Worker Parental Leave Bill

April 27, 2006 ( - Proposed legislation by three US House of Representative members would give federal employees six weeks of paid leave for the birth of a baby or in the event of an adoption.

The compensated time off is the centerpiece of the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (HR 5148), sponsored by Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-New York), Tom Davis (R-Virginia) and    Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland). The same three first introduced a bill to add the benefit in May 2000.

According to a Web statement by Maloney federal employees currently have to use annual leave and sick leave to care for their newborns.

“The legislation would make the federal government more competitive in the labor force by modernizing its standard of benefits to create a truly family-friendly workplace for its employees,” Maloney said in the statement. “It faces serious challenges in the 21st century to attract and retain skilled and motivated employees and needs to keep up with the private sector in its ability to provide competitive pay and benefits.”

The benefit would come at a cost, though. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that paid parental leave would have cost about $1 billion between 2001 and 2005.