July 8, 2020

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Will Leave Benefits Apply to All Fed Employees?

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The Capital Region delegation from the House of Representatives is urging the Armed Services Committee to provide all federal employees with the paid family and medical leave benefits contained in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act.

The delegation sent a letter to the chairs of the Armed Services Committees working to reconcile the House- and Senate-passed versions of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act House, urging them to maintain 12 weeks paid family and medical leave benefits for all federal employees.

Some conferees have suggested extending this benefit only to Department of Defense employees would create two classes of federal employees in terms of benefits. This would be unacceptable to the letter’s authors.

Congressman Steny H. Hoyer represents 62,000 federal employees in Maryland’s Fifth District. He remains a strong proponent of paid family and medical leave for federal employees. He has advocated for such benefits to help recruit and retain talented Americans in the federal workforce. He continues to strive to make federal jobs competitive with the private sector.

The House passed its version of the NDAA in July, and the Senate approved its version in June. Now, as conferees led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) and Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James Inhofe (R-OK) continue working to resolve differences, they will have to decide whether to maintain the inclusion of paid family and medical leave benefits for federal employees in the final conference report.

Rep. Hoyer, was joined by House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations Chairman Gerald E. Connolly and Representatives Eleanor Holmes Norton, John Sarbanes, Don Beyer, Anthony Brown, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, and Jennifer Wexton in sending the letter below to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith and Senate Committee on Armed Services Chairman James Inhofe:

“On July 12, the House passed HR 2500, the NDAA for 2020, which invests in a strong and ready military, provides for a pay increase for our troops, promotes a more diverse and inclusive armed forces, and ensures close collaboration with our allies in standing against aggression from Russia. The Senate passed its own version in June. Reaching agreement in conference to move a final version to passage in the House and the Senate soon will provide certainty to our military and reassurance to our men and women in uniform that Congress has their backs.

“Among the provisions appended to this bill in the House is legislation to extend twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave to federal civilian employees. We were proud to advocate for its inclusion and to work closely with the House Armed Services Committee Members and staff to ensure that it enhanced this year’s NDAA by helping to recruit and retain the best and brightest Americans to work at the Department of Defense and other agencies throughout our government. This would also set a strong example for the private sector, where too many employees still do not have access to paid family and medical leave. We understand that the conferees are considering extending mandatory paid family and medical leave solely to Department of Defense employees. This would be an unacceptable outcome, as it would create two classes of federal employees and deny a benefit to a majority of federal workers for no reason other than the agency at which they work. We urge the conferees to preserve the progress made in the House bill on behalf of all federal employees and their families.”

Follow Congressman Hoyer on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information about House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader Page.

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