Obama Announces New Parental Leave Policy for Federal Employees

President Obama is directing federal agencies to offer their employees 240 hours of advanced sick leave at the request of an employee and under appropriate circumstances. This leave would be for the birth or adoption of a child or for other eligible uses of sick leave.

The White House memo states that leave policies should be updated as soon as possible and no later than January 1, 2016.

The memo directs the Office of Personnel Management to issue guidance regarding the new leave policies within 90 days from today and publish the memo in the Federal Register.

The memo was given the subject ” Modernizing Federal Leave Policies for Childbirth, Adoption, and Foster Care to Recruit and Retain Talent and Improve Productivity”.

The benefits of offering more leave to employees are cited as the reason for the change:

“The availability of paid maternity leave, for example, has been shown to increase the likelihood that mothers return to their jobs following the birth of a child, and paid maternity and paternity leave has been shown to improve the health and development outcomes of the infant.  In addition, it is critically important for parents and their newborn or newly adopted child to have the opportunity to form strong family attachments and relationships.

“Men and women both need time to care for their families and should have access to workplace flexibilities that help them succeed at work and at home.  Offering family leave and other workplace flexibilities to parents can help achieve the goals of recruiting and retaining talent, lowering costly worker turnover, increasing employee engagement, boosting employee morale, and ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce. Yet, the United States lags behind almost every other country in ensuring some form of paid parental leave to its Federal workforce; we are the only developed country in the world without it.”


What do you think of the new expanded family leave policy? Tell us in the comments.


  • Posted February 27, 2015 mary thomas 7:30 pm


    Yes I would like to comment on the paid maternity leave. This is the way I see it. If your talking about leave that you have already accumulated and you use that leave to take maternity leave, then I say okay. But if your talking about just getting paid regardless of whether or not you have EARNED leave to use I say “ABSOLUTELY NOT.” Why should the federal government pay people for maternity leave when it hasn’t been earned? I had a set of twins that were premature. 3 and 5 lbs. Both on monitors. I returned to work after I used my EARNED leave because I was a faithful government employee. I was also a good mother that had no problem taking care of my children at the same time. It’s all in what you make it. Tell the employees to work hard, earn their leave, and use their leave to have babies and families. It builds character. Makes you stronger in the end and you can say you “did it yourself” with no help.

  • Posted April 10, 2015 Paul 11:57 am

    Mary, it’s advanced sick leave, meaning that it is not granted for free–it must be “paid back”. This new policy will benefit new federal employees who have not had a chance to accrue that leave yet (think of Dept of VA doctors who have undergone 4 years of post-graduate training plus any number of years of medical residency before joining the federal government).

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