Congress close to approving paid parental leave for fed workers: Schumer

Senator Charles Schumer (File photo)

More than 48,000 federal employees in New York City may soon be eligible for up to 12 weeks paid parental leave through an agreement being hammered out in Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer announced Sunday.

New York’s senior senator and Senate minority leader said that Congressional leaders are close to a final deal on the National Defense Authorization Act, which would include paid parental leave provisions. 

Currently, federal civilian workers can only receive three months (12 weeks) unpaid leave, and Schumer noted that extended lack of income puts many families in serious financial trouble. 

The agreement would allow any federal employee up to 12 weeks paid time off to care for a newborn or adopted child. Schumer said this would bring “the federal government’s parental leave laws into 21st century, and on-par” with most industrialized nations across the globe.

“It’s high time that we caught up. And as the nation’s largest employer, the federal government offering 12 weeks to its millions of employees across our nation and here in New York, is a step in the right direction,” Schumer said in a Dec. 8 statement. “From one end of the state to the other, no matter if you are a TSA or customs agent at JFK Airport, working on Fort Drum Army Base, or at Buffalo VA Medical Center, you deserve time to take care of and support your new loved one and family, without worrying how it might impact your ability to put food on the table.”

The senator’s office said the paid parental leave benefit would affect approximately 114,386 federal employees in New York State, including the 48,193 of them who reside in New York City.

Schumer said he made securing paid parental leave his “very to priority, and fought with everything I had to secure it.” Even so, he added, he’ll continue to seek the same paid parental leave benefit for all workers in the U.S.

Robert Pozarycki