House Passes Parental Leave Bill

Posted June 19, 2008 at 3:53pm

A bill that would guarantee four weeks of paid parental leave to federal employees — including Congressional staffers — passed the House, 278-146, on Thursday, despite a recent veto threat from the White House.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) introduced the bill, which would give new parents the four paid weeks off, plus any accrued vacation and sick days. The bill applies to anyone covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act, plus legislative employees.

“The policy — which is commonplace in the private-sector — is not only pro-family, it is pro-government, and will strengthen the federal government’s ability to compete for high-quality employees,” Maloney said Thursday in a statement.

On Tuesday, the Office of Management and Budget sent out a Statement of Administration Policy that called the bill’s plan redundant, citing the fact that federal employees already can use any saved-up sick and vacation days for parental leave. Instead, officials touted an administration plan that would offer employees short-term disability insurance.

But Maloney’s bill has some bipartisan support — including Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) — and a companion bill was introduced in the Senate by Virginia Sens. Jim Webb (D) and John Warner (R).