Yesterday, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) introduced the Comprehensive Paid Leave for Federal Employees Act. This important legislation would update existing law by providing federal employees with up to 12 weeks of paid time off to care for themselves or an immediate family member dealing with a serious illness. NTEU is proud to join the long list of federal employee advocates endorsing this legislation.
Under current law, if a federal employee needs to be away from work for an extended period for a covered event (such as a health condition), that employee can use Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks. While this leave status protects the employee’s job, the only way to prevent a lapse in pay is to use existing sick, annual or other paid leave. The Schatz/Beyer legislation changes that to ensure that when the need arises, a federal worker can step away and remain in a paid status while on leave. Federal workers deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing their job and paycheck are safe while they are away taking care of themselves or the people they love.
The pandemic has provided another example of why paid family leave is necessary for today’s families. Few employees can go weeks without pay, and no one should be forced to choose between caring for a loved one and a paycheck. Paid family leave is a win-win for employees and employers, allowing employees time to address caregiving issues, while agencies get an employee who returns to work instead of having the expense of hiring and training a new employee.