The end of the year was eventful in the nation’s capital – and not just because of the impeachment proceedings. Right before the holidays, Congress passed the “National Defense Authorization Act” which included twelve weeks of paid leave for all government employees. This legislation is important because it impacts over two million of the federal government’s employees – who before were ineligible for paid leave.
Effective in October 2020, employees will need to have worked for at least twelve (12) months in order to be eligible to receive paid leave. Qualifying events include the birth or adoption of a child – but do not extend to the care of sick older family members or themselves. Assuming that they’ve worked for one year, employees can still use unpaid leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to address their own health issues or those of sick close family members.
What’s the impact on those that don’t work for the federal government? Businesses should take note that there is a push in Congress (and across the states) to extend paid leave to all employees, including those of private businesses. Many states, such as Maryland and the District of Columbia, have already passed generous paid leave laws. I recommend that employers make sure that they are complying with state law and become familiar with the new federal law, as it is likely a sign of an upcoming federal expansion of paid leave for all employees.
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