2 million people and their families. 2 million. That's how many people who work for the federal government and how many will benefit if Congress passes the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act this year! And here's the good news: Congress is so so close to passing this.
And, even if you’re not a federal employee, the fact is that a win like this at the federal level, like every win at the local and state level, helps build the case for a national paid family and medical leave program that lifts every family in this country.
Here’s the scoop: The House and the Senate are in last stages of finalizing the National Defense Authorization Act. The House included the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act in their approved version of the legislation. The Senate did not. Now, the House and Senate are heading to conference to reconcile their bills. As the House and Senate negotiate, it's critical that elected leaders are hearing from YOU that paid leave for federal employees must be included in the final deal!
With more than 2 million employees, the federal government is the nation’s largest employer, yet provides no paid family and medical leave. This leaves many federal workers forced to choose between a paycheck and caring for a loved one, a newborn or themselves. The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act would not provide employees with additional leave time; it would simply ensure that federal employees can receive full pay during their 12 weeks of FMLA leave.
Ragen, a federal postal worker and MomsRising member from New Hampshire, has experienced this shortfall first-hand. She bravely shared her family’s devastating story:
“My son Ethan was born in 2006. He was medically fragile and had significant developmental disabilities. FMLA meant that I could care for my sick child without risking my job, but it also meant going without a paycheck. I couldn’t take paid leave when Ethan suffered a massive stroke and needed us by his side in the hospital nor when he passed away just three years ago, a devastating loss for our entire family. FMLA was always supposed to be a starting point, not a finish line. Without paid leave, the FMLA falls short for too many families, including mine.”
Paid leave would help not just federal employees, but the entire federal government. With access to paid leave, federal employees won't be forced to choose between their jobs and their family. This will also reduce employee turnover, which is estimated to cost us as taxpayers between 16 and 200 percent of a worker’s annual salary. Plus, a win at the federal level, like every win at the local and state level, helps build the case for a national paid family and medical leave program that lifts every family in this country.
The Federal Employee Paid Leave Act would also be a game-changer for moms and parents in the federal workforce. New mothers who take paid leave are more likely to take the amount of time away from work recommended by doctors, and their children are more likely to be breastfed, receive medical check-ups, and get critical immunizations.
And it doesn't end there. When children are seriously ill, the presence of a parent shortens a child’s hospital stay by 31 percent; active parental involvement in a child’s hospital care may head off future health problems, especially for children with chronic health conditions, and thus reduce costs.
Paid leave also supports family caregivers and their loved ones. With a family caregiver to support them, sick family members are more likely to complete their treatment plans, manage their care, and avoid complications and hospital readmissions.
This is a huge opportunity to invest in families, support workers, and pave the way for more paid leave policies across the country. Click here to sign our letter to Congress urging leaders to champion paid leave for federal employees!
***Take action now and be sure to share this email or link below with your friends and family so they can take action too.
Together we're a powerful force for women and families.
P.S. Do you have a personal experience you can share about the need for paid family and medical leave? Either how it's helped your family or how you've struggled without it? Tell us about it and we’ll share with decision-makers to help them understand why paid family and medical leave is so important!