A Christmas Miracle happened when both branches of Congress and the President all agreed and signed into law the new Parental Leave Act for federal employees. Govtrack had only given it a 3% chance of passing. The U.S. now joins the other top 40 industrialized nations recognizing that new parents need some time off to care for their newborn, adopted or foster child.

Effective in October, 2020 the new law gives 2.1 million federal workers the right to take 12 weeks paid parental leave. The bill sets up two conditions; first, the benefit is not available until after the employee has worked for the federal government for one year, and secondly, the employee must return to work for at least 12 weeks after they take their parental leave. Surprisingly progressive, the new law embraces the changing roles of family caregiving, as the benefit is not limited by gender, giving birth, or primary caregiver and will extend benefits to men as well as LGBTQ caregivers.

Advocates Hope This Step Forward Will Prompt Similar Family Leave Changes in the Private Sector

This new federal law has no impact on private employers. But news of this new employment benefit has caused non-governmental employees to question why they too shouldn’t get a similar benefit. It’s not lost on those workers that their tax dollars are now paying for an employment benefit for federal workers that they themselves don’t get. Advocates for strong families hope this new law will be a catalyst for change in the private sector.

Media reports vary from 19% to 27% on the number of non-governmental employees in the U.S. who have paid family leave as an employee benefit. Large corporations like Microsoft, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase all provide parental leave, while such benefit is not available to employees of lower paying jobs like retail and restaurant workers. Just last year, Walmart began offering 16 weeks of paid maternity leave, and six weeks of paid parental leave for other caregivers.

Better Paid Leave Is Beneficial to Everyone

Rep. Carolyn Maloney from New York, a primary sponsor of the bill, believes “Providing this benefit is a significant investment in our future- the future of children, parents, families and our future as a nation. Paid leave yields better outcomes for productivity, health of parents and children and long term financial stability.”

When handling divorce and custody issues for families, the lawyers at Molly B. Kenny, LLC, always strive for the best plan to maximize the health, stability and caregiving needs of their clients. When you need a family law lawyer dedicated to the future well-being of your family, contact Molly B. Kenny, LLC.

Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington
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