Fedweek

A draft of the House version of the annual DoD authorization bill (HR-6395) would address gaps left in the upcoming paid parental leave authority for federal employees.

The “chairman’s draft” of the bill, set for consideration in the House Armed Services Committee this week, “makes technical corrections to the Paid Parental Leave benefit provided through the FY20 National Defense Authorization Act to ensure that Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and certain other civilian employees inadvertently omitted from the legislation receive the paid parental leave benefit,” according to a summary.

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The revision is needed because the law as written generally excludes from eligibility federal employees who are outside “Title 5,” the body of law covering federal employment policies in general. Most medical personnel at VA are under a separate section of law, as are employees of the FAA, TSA employees, political appointees, federal judges and certain other limited categories.

The law specifically made TSA screeners eligible for the benefit, but not other TSA employees; the VA meanwhile has said that even if the law is not changed, it would extend the benefit to its medical personnel under Title 38 under a separate authority.

Several bills were offered early in the year after the exclusions were discovered in the law passed last December which created an entitlement for paid parental leave of up to 12 weeks of paid time per 12 months under the same conditions for which unpaid parental leave is now available, for births, adoptions or foster placements occurring after September 30. However, those bills were set aside as Congress focused most of its attention on pandemic-related issues.

The Senate counterpart committee has passed its own version of the bill (S-4049) which does not contain similar language.

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2020 Federal Employees Handbook