Statement on Paid Parental Leave for Federal Workers

1,000 Days applauds the inclusion of 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal workers in the National Defense Authorization Act (S. 1790) conference agreement. As the nation’s largest employer, this measure will ensure that more than 2 million federal workers can take the time they need to care for their new baby and themselves after childbirth. Thank you to all the Members that championed this provision, including Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Chrissy Houlahan and Senator Brian Schatz. We are grateful for the bipartisan cooperation between Chairmen Adam Smith and Jim Inhofe as well as Ranking Members Mac Thornberry and Jack Reed in including this important provision in the NDAA. We urge all Members to support this provision.

Yet, even as we celebrate this critical step forward, we recognize the work continues to ensure comprehensive paid leave is available to all workers. This provision will not provide paid leave for a pregnant worker on bedrest for her health and that of her baby. It will not provide paid leave for a parent whose child is diagnosed with cancer at 18 months. And unfortunately, it will not provide paid leave to millions of private sector workers in every community. Still, this is an important step in ensuring more workers can access the leave they need.

We encourage Congress and the White House to build on this momentum and pass comprehensive paid family and medical leave. No parent should have to choose between taking time to care for and bond with their child and earning the income they need to support their family. And all women should be able to take the time they need to care for themselves during pregnancy and after childbirth. Access to comprehensive paid leave is critical for the health and wellbeing of moms, babies and their families during the 1,000-day window and beyond.