December 9, 2019
Understanding the Latest Paid Family Leave Proposal
Congress is reportedly considering giving paid family leave to all federal workers — a change in policy that supporters hope will pave the way to a national paid family leave policy. AAF’s Labor Market Policy Data Analyst Isabel Soto examines the goal of providing paid family leave as well as the potential cost of this proposal.
The passage of this provision would mark a major expansion of leave policies for federal workers. Currently civilian federal employees are given leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which provides 12 weeks of job-protected but unpaid leave. Federal workers frequently use saved annual and sick leave to accommodate maternity and paternity leave needs. While this agreement would be historic and offer new parents more time to spend with children, the 2.1 million employees of the federal government represent just over 1 percent of the civilian labor force. Furthermore, the costs associated with this expansion of leave benefits remain unknown. Previous work by the American Action Forum estimated a similar 12-week program would cost $6,700 per worker, bringing the upper bound cost estimate for the federal workforce to $14.07 million.