Compliance Memos: January 2020

Tasha Patterson@Work, Legislative Updates


Paid Family Leave Benefit for Civilian Federal Employees

Paid family leave for birth, adoption, or fostering is a new benefit for 2.1 million federal civilian employees, available for these family events that begin on or after Oct. 1, 2020. The law was passed as part of the National Defense Authorization Act on Dec. 18 and was signed on Dec. 20. It provides 12 weeks of paid leave to workers with at least one year of federal employment. Leave must be used within 12 months of the family event and cannot be accumulated. Until the benefit takes effect, federal employees, like many private-sector employees, must use paid sick days and paid vacation time to cover leave following birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. Polls show a federal law making a single, nationwide program of paid family leave for private-sector employees has strong support, but the sticking point is how to fund this benefit. Some advocates support a dedicated funding program, while others support providing access to personal Social Security accounts for family events. To learn more, visit

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