Smith, Maloney and Labor Leaders Urge President Trump to Sign FY21 National Defense Authorization Act into Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representatives Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Chairwoman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, and major labor leaders today issued the following statements of support for corrections to the Paid Parental Leave benefit included in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2021, which is sitting on the President’s desk awaiting signature. The technical corrections included in the FY21 NDAA ensure that Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, and certain other civilian employees inadvertently omitted in last year’s bill receive the benefits Congress intended.
“The inclusion of Paid Parental Leave for the federal work force in the FY20 NDAA represented a huge win for working families across the country and ensured that the federal government was leading the way on paid parental leave policy,” said Chairman Smith. “However, our work did not end with the passage of last year’s bill. With the overwhelming, bipartisan passage of the FY21 NDAA in both chambers of Congress, we have extended this critical benefit to more than 100,000 federal employees who were inadvertently omitted last year, something we should all be proud of.”
“This important correction honors the intention of Congress that all federal employees be guaranteed up to 12 weeks of paid leave in the event of the birth, adoption or fostering of a child,” said Chairwoman Maloney. “This policy, which has bipartisan support, has already made a difference for the families of federal employees. Paid family leave improves productivity, reduces turnover, boosts morale and attracts and retains more talent, which is exactly what our federal workforce deserves right now. This is an effort I have worked on for many years, and I want to thank Chairman Smith for his leadership in expanding paid parental leave for all federal employees in this year’s bill.”
“The president’s threats to veto the National Defense Authorization Act imperil the many critical provisions that directly support the jobs and working lives of civil service employees nationwide and overseas, including extending 12 weeks of paid parental leave to roughly 100,000 federal employees who were inadvertently excluded from the benefit that Congress approved a year ago,” American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley said. “It is imperative that the president sign into law the NDAA at once and end the second-class status for these excluded employees, which includes Title 38 health care workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs, all FAA employees and non-screener personnel at the Transportation Security Administration, and D.C. employees in the courts and public defender service.”
"Paid parental leave is vital for strong and healthy families. No one should have to choose between raising their children and bringing home a paycheck,” said American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, President Lee Saunders. “The United States remains one of only three nations in the world that does not grant paid parental leave to all workers. This provision moves us forward. AFSCME strongly supports this bipartisan Paid Parental Leave provision in the NDAA package, which extends this benefit to the small percentage of currently ineligible federal employees, including AFSCME members at FAA.”
"With strong bipartisan support, Congress established a paid parental leave program for federal workers and the FY21 NDAA provides important technical corrections to ensure that benefit reaches more new parents,” said Adrienne Schweer, Fellow and Director of Bipartisan Policy Center’s Paid Family Leave Project. “It is a scary time to be a new parent and paid parental leave gives 12 weeks of much needed time for new families to protect their vulnerable infants, recover safely, and find safe childcare before they return to work."
“President Trump needs to get his act together and sign the 2021 NDAA,” said Randy Erwin, National President, National Federation of Federal Employees. “In addition to supporting the country’s defenses, thousands of federal families have waited long enough for the same paid parental leave provided to the rest of the workforce. President Trump was happy to take credit for parental leave last year when it passed into law, now he needs to finish the job instead of prancing off on another fruitless political expedition.”
“NATCA thanks House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), and House Oversight and Reform Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and their staffs, for their steadfast leadership, hard work, and great advocacy on behalf of NATCA’s membership,” NATCA President Paul Rinaldi said. “They led the charge to ensure that the paid parental leave fix was included in the final NDAA bill. NATCA strongly supports the fix and urges the President to sign this critical legislation immediately.”
“IFPTE can’t overstate enough the importance of ensuring that the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act becomes law, as it not only authorizes critical defense projects all across the branches of our military, but also contains several worker friendly provisions for both our fighting women and men, and our civilian federal workers,” said IFPTE President, Paul Shearon. “The expansion of the paid parental leave, for example, will enable even more federal workers the opportunity to take the time off necessary to welcome and bond with new members to their families while not having to worry about losing pay during such an important time in their lives. The fact that President Trump is threatening to veto this bipartisan bill because of matters not at all related to defense further underscores his failure as president to prioritize our national defense over his personal wishes and whims.”
"Paid parental leave is already changing the lives of federal employees across the country who as we speak are using it to care for their new children during their first few critical, nurturing weeks at home, without sacrificing income,” said National Treasury Employees Union President Tony Reardon. “It is only fair that this monumental new family-friendly policy be extended to all federal employees, as was originally intended. Rep. Adam Smith and Rep. Carolyn Maloney are to be commended for ensuring that all federal employees are able to provide the time and resources that their growing families need, and help all government agencies recruit and retain the very best employees."
“The paid parental leave benefit is already providing federal employees priceless bonding time with new additions to their family, and giving agencies a valuable tool to recruit and retain high-caliber civil servants. With a significant percentage of its workers approaching retirement age, it is crucial the federal government be able to attract younger civil servants by offering up to 12 weeks of paid leave in connection with the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child, a benefit afforded to many employees in the private sector,” said Ken Thomas, National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE). Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Smith and Chairwoman Maloney, last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) provided this benefit to most federal employees. This year, they continued fighting to ensure the FY21 NDAA extends the benefit to federal employees excluded from last year’s bill. Now, I urge President Trump to support this family-friendly policy, walk back his veto threat and sign the FY21 NDAA into law.”
“The inclusion of paid parental leave for federal workers in last year’s National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is a win that has already started to benefit our federal workforce and their families,” said Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families. “Nearly 1 in 5 of our federal workers are women of color, and more than 40 percent are women. This win promotes economic justice for women of color and all women by ensuring that they do not have to worry about getting paid while taking time off to welcome a new child or recover from childbirth. The technical fix included in the Fiscal Year 2021 NDAA will make sure that all federal workers, regardless of their job or agency, are able to access this critical benefit. We are proud that providing paid parental leave moves us toward equity in the federal workforce.”