The long-awaited authority for paid parental leave in the federal workplace has started with some issues regarding eligibility addressed but others still unresolved.
Under the authority, employees may substitute paid leave for part or all of the 12 weeks of unpaid leave available under the Family and Medical Leave Act within 12 months of the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child, effective with such events October 1 or after.
The authority as enacted excludes employees not under Title 5, the body of law covering federal employment policies in general, among them some 100,000 Title 38 medical personnel at the VA. The VA has sent an internal memo saying it is covering them on its own authority, although it has made no general public announcement to that effect and employees report that they have not been informed.
Also excluded were TSA employees other than screeners, who were specifically included in the law even though that agency is not under Title 5. The House last week passed HR-5811, to extend coverage to all TSA employees, although that bill likely could not get Senate consideration until at least after the elections.
For those employees—as well as FAA employees, political appointees and certain other categories who have been excluded—the best chance for coverage under the law would be for the Senate to accept House-passed language in the DoD authorization bill. That bill, too, likely won’t reach final voting for at least a month.
The language in the House bill refers to births or placements October 1 or afterward, presumably meaning that if it is enacted into law, it would be effective retroactively.
Postal Service employees also are not eligible because paid parental leave would have to be a topic for negotiations.