Legislation has been introduced in Congress (HR-2589 and S-1195) to expand the circumstances in which federal employees and many other workers can take unpaid leave for family purposes can be taken under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The bills would revise the law’s definition of covered family member to include a domestic partner, parent-in-law, aunt, uncle, sibling, adult child, grandparent, grandchild, son- or daughter-in-law, and others in relationships that meet certain standards. It also would guarantee that parents and other family caregivers have the ability to take time off to attend a medical appointment or school function, such as a parent-teacher conference.
Separately, legislation (S-1158) has been offered in the Senate mirroring a prior House bill that would allow federal employees to take paid leave instead of unpaid leave for any purpose covered by the FMLA. Currently, the paid leave authority applies only for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.
Meanwhile, the House has passed HR-367, to create an acquisition professional career program in DHS to include specialized acquisition training; and HR-490, to enhance career development programs at DHS in general, while establishing an internal committee of management, employees and union representatives to examine the state of employee engagement at DHS and make recommendations.