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Defense Policy Bill With Paid Parental Leave for Feds Goes to President Trump's Desk

Senate approves the annual Defense authorization act, which provides all federal workers with up to 12 weeks of annual leave for the birth or adoption of a child.

The Senate on Tuesday voted 86-8 to send the fiscal 2020 National Defense Authorization Act to President Trump for enactment, all but guaranteeing that federal workers soon will have access to paid parental leave.

Last week, congressional negotiators and the White House reached agreement on the annual defense policy bill, including a provision that would provide all federal employees with up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave per year. The policy, set for implementation by October 2020, would allow federal employees to take the leave coinciding with the birth, adoption or fostering of a child.

Democrats originally pushed to make the leave available to federal employees caring for a chronically ill spouse, child or other close relative, but that provision did not make it into the final bill.

In a statement, National Treasury Employees Union National President Tony Reardon applauded Congress’ effort to approve paid parental leave.

“History will rightly record this moment when the federal government finally gave its workforce the ability to welcome a new child into their homes without sacrificing their financial well-being,” Reardon said. “This is one of the most consequential workplace benefits granted to federal employees in many, many years and NTEU is honored to have been a part of this important movement.”

Also included in the bill are the provisions of the Fair Chance Act, introduced by the late Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., which would codify the federal policy barring agencies from asking job applicants about past arrests or convictions until after they have extended a conditional offer of employment, and expands the policy to apply to federal contractors.

Trump has indicated he will sign the measure.