Last week, the House of Representatives passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 2500, in a 220-197 vote, containing a long-overdue benefit for federal employees – paid family leave.
NARFE National President Ken Thomas previously sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging it to support the provision, which is identical to a bill introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-HI, the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act, H.R. 1534/S. 1174.
The provision would provide federal employees with 12 weeks of paid family leave for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child; to recover from a serious health condition or to provide care to a family member suffering from a serious health condition; and for specific urgent needs born of a family member’s placement on covered active military duty.
Offering paid parental leave will help the government recruit and retain a well-qualified federal workforce. It strengthens employee morale and reduces turnover costs, both of which boost productivity. The government needs to institute paid leave in order for federal agencies to compete with private-sector employers who already recognize the many benefits of such personnel policies. As of 2018, the 20 largest private-sector employers in the United States offered some form of paid parental leave to at least some of their employees.
With an aging federal workforce and a substantial retirement wave on the horizon, the federal government needs to take proactive steps to recruit the top talent necessary to fulfill vital civil service roles.