House Passes Paid Family and Medical Leave for Federal Workers

July 12, 2019

The House voted to provide 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to federal employees as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to help the federal government compete with the private sector in recruiting and retaining employees.

The bill would provide 12 weeks of paid leave in connection with:

  • The birth, adoption or foster placement of a new child;

  • Caring for an immediate family member with a serious medical condition; 

  • An employee being unable to work due to a serious medical condition; and

  • For other purposes that qualify for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, including for certain military caregiving and leave purposes.

Federal government as model employer:  "The federal government can and should be a model employer for the private sector in this area," said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).  Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA) said, "With this amendment, the federal government takes a leading role promoting paid family leave in America, providing much-needed support and relief to working families."

If approved by the Senate, the bill would increase the pressure on employers that compete with the federal government for employees to provide similar benefits.

Outlook:  The Senate passed version of the NDAA bill does not include a paid leave provision, which means the issue will have to be resolved when Congress convenes a conference committee on the two bills later this year.