Casten, Group of Bipartisan Colleagues Seek Assistance for Federal Workers Needing Paid Family Leave in 2020

February 20, 2020
Press Release
New letter asks agencies to find a reasonable pathway for parents who will go on parental leave this year

Glen Ellyn, IL – Today, U.S. Representative Sean Casten (D-IL-06), along with U.S. Representatives Cindy Axne (D-IA-03), Don Bacon (R-NE-02), and Peter King (R-NY-02) sent a bipartisan letter to several federal agencies requesting assistance for federal workers who will need paid family leave.

While last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) included parental leave for federal employees, the policy does not go into effect until the new fiscal year starting October 1st, 2020, leaving workers who have children or need to care for a loved one in the meantime, left out.

The members said in part, “We have heard from federal workers who work within your Department who will need to go on leave sometime in 2020 before parental leave is scheduled to start. They have shared with us their plans to have their spouse terminate their employment, cash out their retirement programs to pay for extra assistance, or take other drastic steps for their family. Paid parental leave is the right thing to do and will make the federal government more competitive with private sector employers offering this benefit.”

Casten added, “For far too long, Americans across this country have faced financial hardship when they take time off work to care for a new child or a loved one battling a health crisis. Last year, Congress acted on this issue by ensuring that all federal employees have twelve weeks of paid family leave, starting in October 2020. But federal workers across the country are facing these important family matters now and need this benefit to avoid dire financial straits. That’s why I am proud to join my colleagues from both sides of the aisle in requesting that federal agencies make accommodations for their employees as soon as possible.”

The letter was sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Office of Personnel Management. It asks those federal agencies to explore solutions that could help those who will need to take leave in 2020 before the implementation date who do not currently have access to paid leave.

To read the full letters, click here.