Legal Insider: New Paid Parental Leave for Federal Employees


 This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Reston Town Center that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement, and private sector employee matters. They write biweekly on RestonNow.

On Jan. 15, President Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum ordering federal agencies to offer up to six weeks (240 hours) of advanced paid sick leave to federal employees relating to the birth of a child, adoption of a child, or the placement of a foster child in their home. The Office of Personnel Management will have 90 days to issue guidance to federal agencies in implementing the new leave policies detailed in the Memorandum.

The Memorandum is designed to address the disparity between federal and private-sector leave policies. While private sector paid sick leave policies tend to vary considerably by occupation, they are generally better than federal sick leave policies.

In his Memorandum, the President reasoned that “offering family leave and other workplace flexibilities to parents can help achieve the goals of recruiting and retaining talent, lowering costly worker turnover, increasing employee engagement, boosting employee morale, and ensuring a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

In addition, the President has asked Congress to pass a national paid sick leave standard by way of the Healthy Families Act that would allow employees who work for businesses with 15 or more employees to earn up to seven annual paid sick days. While the new paid parental leave policy will help federal employees with new children, it is hard to predict whether Congress will pass the broader Healthy Families Act. The President’s proposal for a paid sick leave standard is generally good for employees, employers, and for the economy as a whole.

Our law firm represents and advises federal employees on employment-related matters. If you need legal assistance, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at to schedule a consultation.  Please also visit and like us on Facebook at

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