When it comes to having a baby there are two things I know about myself. (1) I will without a doubt have an epidural. (2) My partner will be at home by my side taking his own temporary leave from work.
Enter the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act. If passed federal workers could get up to 4 weeks paid paternity leave for a newborn or adopted child. It also allows for federal workers to use up to eight weeks of accrued paid sick time or annual leave immediately following the first 4 weeks of paid leave.
Currently federal employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. For many parents this means one of two things: either they stay home and sacrifice income they desperately need or return to work but sacrifice time with their child. For many the choice is made for them. The financial hit, especially in today’s economy, is too great so they forgo time at home with their new child to make ends meet.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York introduced the bill and has said:
“Especially in this economy, families shouldn’t have to stress over cobbling together accrued sick days and vacation time to care for a newborn infant or newly adopted child—they should be focusing on their new family. The federal government is the largest employer in the nation, but it lags behind the private sector on this vital work-life issue, so this bill can have a big impact.”
The passing of this legislation would be a great victory for the 2.7 million workers who are employed by the federal government. It would also create a stepping stone for making paid parental and family leave a standard for all of our nation’s workers not to mention sending an important message in this country that the work parents and caregivers do is valued!
Ask your state’s representative to support the legislation today (thanks NOW)!
Photo by Hugrakka used under a Creative Commons license.