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Eye Opener: Tweaks to Paid Parental Leave?

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Thursday! The House will vote either today or tomorrow on granting federal employees four weeks of paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child, but it won't happen without at least one more attempt to water it down.

Lawmakers will consider an amendment sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that would require federal workers to use up all annual and sick leave before using any paid parental leave. The amendment also classifies such leave as "advanced" and "subject to recovery," meaning employees would have to make it up later.

“There is no way for Congress to tell nearly 14 million unemployed Americans that 2.7 million gainfully employed federal workers will receive additional benefits at a projected cost close to $1 billion," Issa said in a statement.

“It’s not that federal employees shouldn’t receive paid leave for hospitalization, recovery
and adjustment time following the birth of a new child – it just shouldn’t come at the expense of an American workforce struggling to make ends meet," he said, predicting his amendment would allow the bill to pass "with overwhelming bipartisan support.”

At the heart of the issue is cost: Issa and conservatives believe the bill's price tag will surpass $1 billion while Democratic supporters have suggested it's a pay-go, or budget neutral bill. (A point recently disputed by CNN.)

Thoughts? Discuss in the comments section below.

Cabinet and Staff News: Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra (exclusively) tells Federal News Radio about his plans for the new office. Eric Holder, Janet Napolitano and Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske announce the administration's new southwest border strategy tomorrow in New Mexico. Steven Chu calls the accidental nuclear disclosure of "great concern." A look at how SEC's Mary Schapiro hopes to reshape the agency. FEMA's Craig Fugate says he will devote considerable efforts to boosting citizen participation in disaster preparedness, a shift from previous emergency management perceptions of the general public as a liability.

Precedent Reinstated In Deportation Cases: Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. overturned a Bush administration ruling in January that immigrants do not have a constitutional right to effective legal counsel in deportation proceedings.

Inspector Predicted Problems a Year Before Buffalo Crash: More than a year before a twin-engine turboprop flown by Colgan Air crashed, an FAA inspector complained to his superiors about the rocky start the airline was having with that model.

Flu Fears Spur a Stimulus Debate: The White House requests $2 billion to prepare for a possible resurgence of the swine flu this fall and also asks for the authority to take $3.1 billion out of the $311 billion in discretionary stimulus funds.

DOJ Probes Hiring Practices in Silicon Valley: It's investigating whether a number of large U.S. companies violated antitrust laws by establishing agreements not to recruit each other's employees. Companies targeted include Google, Apple, Yahoo, Microsoft and Genentech.

FDA Chief Endorses Fees on Food Companies: Margaret Hamburg likes a proposal imposing new fees on food companies, as an industry group warns that fees to finance inspections, if poorly designed, could create a conflict of interest.

Panel Challenges HHS Request for Disease-Specific Funding: The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee is challenging the Obama administration’s 2010 budget request that funding be directed to cancer and autism research.

Today's Big Event: "Recruiting and Hiring Tomorrow's Federal Workforce: Expectations and Demands of the Next Generation of Public Servants." Tonight starting at 5:30 p.m. at the National Press Club. RSVP here.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 4, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Excuse me Feds have survived without paid aprental leave for how many years now? And doesn't this discrimiante against other Feds who have older children, who are single or who just don't want spawn.

No paid parental leave for Feds.

Posted by: sheepherder | June 4, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

I can agree with using up all annual leave, but I think using all sick leave is unwise. They will need that when they get back to work for emergencies, illness, doctor appointments or early closing of schools, etc. They would end up taking unpaid time for events they have no control over.

The 'advanced' and 'subject to recovery' inclusions will null the bill. Those are already available to federal employees and if it is indeed the same thing, will only give them 4 weeks of their own leave.

I do not think it will have as much an impact as people think...not everyone has kids and not everyone takes time off (both parents). Something similar was proposed and crashed over a decade ago, so with that in mind, the proposed benefit has already been cut down from 8 to 4 weeks.

Providing this benefit can make working for the government more appealing and hopefully keep good people in civil service longer.

As for the comment that this benefit should not come at the expense of the American workforce...are federal employees not part of that taxpaying American workforce? I am sure there are far more important areas where money could be saved than at the expense of our future workforce (children).

Posted by: joemetnik | June 4, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

Sure happy to hear the Republicans finally admit they hate children and will vote against paid parental leave for their employees. Now if just get them to admit the world would be better off with abortions than with the children whose parents will not be getting paid parental leave, that would be real progress.

Posted by: peter49 | June 4, 2009 8:24 AM | Report abuse

this would be a perk for federal employees.
and states would follow suit on this law, since it is federal. (states love THESE kinds of federal law)
however, they don't need it. And now is the time for all good men and women to realize what "you do need and what you don't need".
Period. I am so sick of the perks that government workers get...and then do 5 hours out of 8 of work.
They have opportunities, sick and annual leave to the max, good pay, good conditions, goof off time, long lunches, email addiction (look at my new baby pictures now)..every beanie baby and plant in the world in their cubicle (that they must have in a certain order every day)...

and then when asked to "step up to the plate" (like the Governator in California with the temporary cut of days)..they protest and cry like f*** babies.
Forget about being thankful for a job...
and it's a public servant job...
You are here to serve the public. Not gripe and groan about what YOU ARE NOT GETTING.
The common unemployed man of America would kill to walk in your shoes government worker. And all you have is greed for more PERKS!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | June 4, 2009 8:56 AM | Report abuse

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