Paid parental leave advances in House

The House federal workforce subcommittee on Wednesday passed a bill that would provide federal employees with four weeks of paid leave on the birth or adoption of a child.

During the bill's markup, Democratic committee members and one Republican said the 2009 Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (H.R. 626) would provide an important model to private sector employers. The legislation advances to the full House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

"This bill would only affect the 1.8 million federal employees, but it is often the federal government that leads the country," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., who introduced the legislation. "It is a model project for the country and for federal employees…. As a country that constantly talks about family values, it's a way of putting the reality into the rhetoric."

Maloney introduced similar legislation during the last congressional session. That bill included eight weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, but the full committee amended the bill to reduce the benefit to four weeks. The House passed the bill in 2008, but the Senate did not vote on it.

Rep. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., said he supported the legislation previously and would do so again, because he believes the bill is a good example of how the federal government should make policy for states and localities to emulate.

"One of the things the federal government ought to do more of is lead through example, rather than dictate," he said. "As the largest employer, we can set an example so millions of businesses out there will follow our example, take a look at the bottom line, and see they can have their employees working with their families, not just with their businesses."

Bilbray was the lone Republican at the hearing to speak out in support of the measure. Ranking subcommittee member Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said he could not support the bill because there were no hearings on it to date during the current congressional session. Chaffetz said as a freshman representative he was unfamiliar with previous debate on the legislation. Maloney said she would invite Chaffetz to upcoming events in support of the bill.

Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., said the state of the economy made it an inopportune time to extend further benefits to employees.

"At this time, when people in my district can't find a job, to be generous with their money to government employees is an insult," he said. "Maybe you can get away with that argument in normal times, but right now, we shouldn't be more generous to federal employees than [to] most Americans."

But Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., the new chairman of the federal workforce subcommittee, said the economic crisis argued for protecting already vulnerable workers.

"Many families dependent on two incomes are being forced to make ends meet on only one salary," when one spouse takes leave to care for a new child, he said. "This drastically reduces the ability of workers to provide the best care for themselves and their loved ones. Rising gasoline and food prices and falling home values make this situation even more difficult."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.