Congressional negotiators at the White House reached a tentative deal Dec. 6 to include 12 weeks of paid parental leave for feds in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, a congressional source familiar with the NDAA negotiations told Federal Times.

The push to guarantee that federal employees get 12 weeks of paid time off in the case of a new child or family health emergency has been most recently active since April 2018, when then-Rep. Barbara Comstock of Virginia introduced legislation to mandate it across the federal government. That bill did not make it into that law that year, but a new session of Congress saw the same guarantee made in both Senate and House legislation.

A provision ensuring such leave was also included in the House version of the 2020 NDAA.

According to the congressional source, though Republicans resisted the family leave addition in defense spending, the yet-to-be-finalized defense budget is likely to include a guarantee of such leave for all federal employees.

Currently, federal employees only receive six to eight weeks of sick leave, followed under the Family Medical Leave Act by an additional 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for a new child.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

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