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Paid Parental Leave: Can Congress and Trump Come to an Agreement?

Will civilian federal employees soon get paid parental leave?

When choosing whether to start a family, one of the first things to consider is the financial burden and whether you will be able to provide for the new additions. For such little bundles of joy, babies cost a fortune in diapers, clothes, food, and health care. Then there’s the astronomical future expenses of playing sports, dance classes, and, of course, college tuition. That’s the long-term expectation, but what about the more immediate money matters, such as time off from work to care for a newborn infant? The government is one step closer to passing a law that would require federal employees to be paid up to 12 weeks in benefits.

Currently, only military personnel receive paid time off to care for a new member of the family. If Congress passes this agreement, it would provide approximately 2.1 million civilian workers 12 weeks as well. The initiative would also cover cases in which parents adopt a child and it would provide for those who need to take medical leave for either themselves or a family member.

Non-military employees are already able to get the time off but without pay. If passed, the new bill would require the government to keep the checks rolling in for civilian employees.

The president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, praised the plan:

“As the country’s largest employer, the United States Government must lead by example. After three years of relentless advocacy, the passage of the NDAA will secure Paid Parental Leave for ALL federal employees. This will mark a HUGE step forward towards making paid leave a reality for all Americans. This new policy represents another incredible win for millions of hard-working American families courtesy of President Trump.”

The paid leave initiative is part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that has already passed the House and would create the “Space Force” that Donald Trump has been advocating. Lawmakers have been haggling over the defense bill because of the request to create the Space Force as a new military branch that would be under the control of the Department of the Air Force. The parental leave portion is marked as tentative because the bill still needs to pass both houses of Congress before it can reach the president’s desk.

What do Americans Want?

Many Americans would love to see a law requiring paid leave for family matters such as the birth of a baby or medical hardship, but not all agree on who should be paying for it. The Pew Research Center conducted a study addressing this and the results show that a majority believe employers should cover the costs instead of the federal or state government.

When it pertains to calculating who should get more paid time off, the study revealed that about eight in 10 (82%) adults said mothers should have the full time off with pay while only 69% supported paid paternity leave. Those who endorsed time off for both parents said mothers should receive about 8.6 weeks while fathers should average 4.3 weeks.

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Read more from Kelli Ballard.

Read More From Kelli Ballard

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