Among the bills that could receive quick attention with Congress now back in session is the annual DoD authorization bill, the House version (HR-2500) of which would create a substantial new paid leave benefit for federal employees. Leaders have set a target of getting the defense bill passed into law before the beginning of the new fiscal year October 1.

That provision would change to paid time the up to 12 weeks per 12 months of leave, currently unpaid, available to federal employees under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Allowable uses include for parental purposes as well as for medical conditions affecting employees and certain family members. The House added that language when voting on the floor and the Trump administration has not addressed it directly; the Senate version (S-1790) does not contain similar language.


The paid parental leave portion would take effect for births, adoptions and foster placements occurring after September 30 of next year; the portion for other purposes presumably would take effect on the bill’s enactment, although the language does not specify that.

The Congressional Budget Office this week estimated the value of the paid leave provision to DoD employees—who make up about a third of the non-postal federal workforce—at $22 million through 2029. It did not explain how it arrived at that figure.

Separately, both the House and Senate have advanced intelligence agency authorization bills (HR-3494 and S-245) providing for 12 weeks of paid leave only for parental purposes and only in intelligence community agencies.