The gaps in the paid parental leave authority are becoming clearer, with a legislative review identifying which federal employees have been inadvertently left out.
Contrary to earlier indications, security screeners at TSA will be eligible for the new entitlement of up to 12 weeks of paid leave within 12 months for births, adoptions and foster placements occurring after September 30.
The DoD authorization measure containing the parental leave authority as an amendment extends the authority to screeners—but not to other TSA employees—according to federal employee unions and others who have parsed through the new language.
Excluded categories in general are those are outside “Title 5,” which is the body of law covering federal employment policies in general; apart for TSA screeners, the law applies only to those under Title 5.
Other categories include “Title 38” medical personnel of the VA, “Title 49” employees of the FAA, political appointees and federal judges, and according to the NATCA union, so-called “FIRREA” agencies, which mainly are involved in overseeing the financial sector of the economy—apart from the SEC and FDIC, each of which now provide six weeks of paid parental leave.
The VA, meanwhile, has said that even though its Title 38 personnel were left out, it will use discretionary authority to extend the benefit to them, as well. It’s unclear whether other agencies could, or would, do the same without further action by Congress.
Legislation is before the Senate to extend the coverage to those left out except for Postal Service employees, who would have to gain such a benefit through bargaining since pay and benefits are negotiable at USPS. Such “technical corrections” bills commonly are passed as attachments to other legislation but there has been no indication so far of a strategy to bring up that bill separately or to add it to another.