Federal Eye Eye Opener: Tweaks to Paid Parental Leave?

The House will vote either today or tomorrow on granting federal employees four weeks of paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child, but it won’t happen without at least one more attempt to water it down.

Lawmakers will consider an amendment sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that would require federal workers to use up all annual and sick leave before using any paid parental leave. The amendment also classifies such leave as “advanced” and “subject to recovery,” meaning employees would have to make it up later.

“There is no way for Congress to tell nearly 14 million unemployed Americans that 2.7 million gainfully employed federal workers will receive additional benefits at a projected cost close to $1 billion,” Issa said in a statement.

“It’s not that federal employees shouldn’t receive paid leave for hospitalization, recovery
and adjustment time following the birth of a new child – it just shouldn’t come at the expense of an American workforce struggling to make ends meet,” he said, predicting his amendment would allow the bill to pass “with overwhelming bipartisan support.”

At the heart of the issue is cost: Issa and conservatives believe the bill’s price tag will surpass $1 billion while Democratic supporters have suggested it’s a pay-go, or budget neutral bill. (A point recently disputed by CNN.)

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