East Hawaii News

Schatz Co-Introduces Paid Parental Leave Act

September 15, 2015, 11:49 AM HST
* Updated September 15, 11:50 AM
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United States Senator Brian Schatz, along with Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, has introduced the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act, which would provide federal employees with six weeks of paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The paid leave would include life events such as birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.

According to Senator Schatz, the legislation would ensure that no federal employee has to make the choice between caring for a newborn child and putting dinner on the table.

“While private companies are beginning to see the benefits of providing paid family leave, America is still the only industrial nation in the world without a program that gives working parents the time off and income they need to care for a new child,” said Senator Schatz. 

Employees are allowed to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave to tend to medical and family issues under the Family and Medical Leave Act, however, the act does not cover paid parental leave.

Senator Mikulski believes the legislation would provide a critical lifeline to both working moms and dads who need to care and support the infants and children’s needs.

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“Working families who work hard and play by the rules deserve to get ahead and not just get by.  No working parent should be forced to choose between caring for their family and keeping their job,” said Senator Mikulski.

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According to the senators, studies have shown that providing paid parental leave for federal employees could save the government $50 million every year in turnover and replacement costs. The legislation could also prevent 2,650 female employees from leaving federal jobs each year while also attracting and retaining talented workers.

The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, American Federation of Government Employees, National Treasury Employees Union, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, National Partnership for Women & Families, and American Foreign Service Association support the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act.

Companion legislation was introduced in the House of Representative by Representative Carolyn Maloney of New York, on Jan. 26. The legislation had 56 co-sponsors.

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