The National Organization for Women urges legislators to support the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, which would guarantee federal workers four weeks of paid parental leave for a new child. Paid parental leave for the 2.7 million workers employed by the federal government will help millions of working families right now, and can be a model for achieving paid parental and family leave for the rest of our nation’s workers, setting the standard for upcoming discussions about policies intended to help families balance work and family life.
This important “balancing work and family” legislation would help ensure that federal workplace benefits are competitive with the private sector. It sets an important precedent demonstrating that our country values the work that parents and caregivers provide.
Under the current Family and Medical Leave Act, federal employees are allowed twelve weeks of unpaid leave. So for many workers, having a child means they will either lose weeks of pay that is crucial to their family’s survival or they will be forced to return to work after only a few days in order to make ends meet. The new Paid Parental Leave Act ensures that federally-employed parents can spend at least four weeks at home with a new child without suffering devastating financial consequences.
As the nation’s largest employer, the federal government should serve as a model for family-friendly workplace policies. Passing the Paid Parental Leave Act is a critical benchmark as we work to provide paid sick, family and medical leave for all workers.