Pay and Benefits Watch: Paid leave for parents

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., will introduce legislation today giving federal parents six weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave.

Under current rules, federal employees can only take up to 13 days of paid sick leave to care for newborns-and only five days if they maintain a balance of fewer than 10 days in their sick leave reserves. Parents can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity or paternity leave.

The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2000 would statutorily grant paid parental leave for employees to care for either newborn or adopted children. The bill would create a separate category of leave for maternity or paternity time off. It would not come out of accrued sick leave.

Rep. Thomas Davis, R-Va., Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif., have joined Maloney in support of the bill.

Meanwhile, the Office of Personnel Management is in the midst of drafting final regulations, as ordered by President Clinton a year ago, to grant federal employees up to 12 weeks of accrued paid sick leave for maternity or paternity leave and for other family medical needs. It would take just under five years for an employee to accrue 12 weeks of sick leave.

Under the pending regulations, employees would only be able to use the extra paid sick leave if they maintained a balance of at least 10 days in their sick leave coffers, the same as under current rules.

On May 10, OPM Director Janice R. Lachance said the new rules would be issued "any minute now."

An OPM spokesman said Wednesday that the agency is still working on the regs.

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