Proposals to provide paid leave for federal employees in all the situations covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act could hitch a ride on a planned push by the Biden administration for paid parental and other family leave nationwide.

The administration is expected to soon release details of that proposal as part of a broad initiative on paid leave, child care and other work-life issues. That will follow—and may be merged with, during the congressional process—a separate large-scale initiative on infrastructure and other issues that also has been eyed as a potential vehicle for expanding paid leave for federal employees.


Currently, federal employees outside the Postal Service can take up to 12 weeks of paid leave within 12 months after the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child, converting into paid time some or all of the 12 weeks within a 12-month period of unpaid leave allowed for parental purposes or for personal or family medical needs under the FMLA. Leave for other than parental reasons remains unpaid, though.

Proposals have been introduced in Congress to authorize paid leave for federal employees for all purposes allowed under the FMLA. Chances of enactment could be higher as part of a larger bill than as an individual bill focused only on federal employees.

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