Clinton orders more family leave for feds

Federal workers who need time off to care for ailing family members can now use up to 12 weeks of accrued sick leave to do so, President Clinton announced Sunday.

The new measure will replace current regulations, which allow federal employees only 13 paid sick days off annually to care for family members.

"On the eve of the 21st century, we ought to set a goal that all working Americans can take time when they need it to care for their families without losing the income they need to support their families," Clinton said during a commencement address at Grambling State University in Louisiana.

The new measure will primarily affect those workers who have built up large amounts of sick leave by working for long periods of time without using such leave. According to the White House, only a very small percentage of federal workers will use the new benefit to its fullest extent. The White House predicts the new rule will cost the government $60 million annually.

The President also announced he would support measures allowing agencies to subsidize child care expenses for some employees and toughening safety standards at federal child care centers. The House Government Reform Committee recently passed two such measures.

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