Friday, June 20, 2008

Paid parental leave for federal employees?


On September 28, 2007 I discussed Senator Dodd’s paid family leave proposal for private companies on this blog. Today, The Washington Post ran a story by Simone Birabeau on p A7, “Paid Parental Leave Act Passes House, Faces Veto Threat”. The news story link is here. The bill would provide federal and congressional employees of up to four weeks paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child, or even in the taking of a foster child.

There was a bill H.R. 3799 on Govtrack, “Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2007,” link here. Apparently Re. Carolyn Maloney (NY) replaced this in April 2008 with H.T. 5781, link here. The details after the notion “Passed House” give the breakdown of the June 19, 2008 vote (277-146). There was one amendment that would delay implementation of the Act. There seems to be some confusion as to whether four or eight weeks of leave could be paid.

The bill would also make it easier to use sick leave to care for a child. Reportedly, President Bush would veto the bill.

When private employers offer paid parental leave, people without children or “family responsibility” (whether chosen by having children or not) often work more hours without pay (when salaried) to cover the duties of those with kids (married or not). It may be less of an issue with union jobs or hourly work, where the employee is on the clock and must be paid (including overtime), but it is an issue for exempt.

In the government, it may not be an issue as employees are entitled to compensatory leave when working overtime. In practice, it may be an issue in emergency services or in the military, of course.

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