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house Bill H.R. 517

Offering Federal Employees Paid Leave For Births and Adoptions

Argument in favor

The federal government should be a model employer, and allowing four weeks of paid parental leave is the reasonable and humane thing to do.

Argument opposed

Government employees shouldn’t receive benefits that most of their private sector counterparts (who pay for the government) don’t receive.

What is House Bill H.R. 517?

H.R. 517 offers federal employees up to four weeks of paid "parental" leave from work when they (or their partner) has a baby, or they are welcoming an adopted child into their home.

This bill applies to federal employees who qualify for unpaid leave from the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) — an act that offers eligible federal employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for health and family reasons. If passed, H.R. 517 would not create additional paid time off, but allow new parents to offset their FMLA hours, or accumulated sick time with paid parental leave.

This substitution of leave would be extended to cover Congressional employees, as well as workers in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Library of Congress employees.


Federal employees with new babies, Congress, GAO, OPM, Library of Congress, and the executive branch.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 517

$850.00 Million
The CBO estimated in 2008 that a previous version of this bill — H.R. 5781 — would have cost a total of $850 million between 2009-2013. This cost would be higher today because of inflation.

More Information


Four weeks of paid parental leave under this bill could eventually be extended up to eight weeks — if  the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) thinks an increase is due, based on: 

  • The benefits to the federal government, including enhanced recruitment and employee retention.

  • The cost to the government.

  • Trends in the private sector and in state and local governments.

  • The federal government’s role as a model employer.

  • The impact of increased paid parental leave on lower-income and economically disadvantaged employees and their children.

For a comparison to employees in different sectors of the economy, the Bureau of Labor Statistics finds that:

  • Only 11% of private sector employees have paid parental leave.

  • Around 16% of state and local government employees have access to paid parental leave.

Parental leave benefits across the board in the U.S. lag behind the rest of the world. Only three other countries do not mandate paid time off for new parents. Current Labor Secretary Tom Perez referred to the U.S. record on paid parental leave as “dismal.”

With this issue getting increased publicity, some notable private sector employers have decided to take action. Yahoo gives adopting and foster parents seven weeks off and new mothers 18 to 22 weeks off. Facebook offers both parents four months of paid leave and a $4000 ‘baby bonus.’


Sponsoring Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) Press Release

National Partnership for Women and Families


Pew Research Center

McClatchy DC

Government Executive

White House Initiative Fact Sheet (In Favor)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user _e.t)


Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act of 2013

Official Title

To provide that 4 of the 12 weeks of parental leave made available to a Federal employee shall be paid leave, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Administration
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
    IntroducedFebruary 5th, 2013

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