CHN: Congress Passes Paid Parental Leave and Ban the Box Provisions for Federal Workers
Advocates applauded congressional passage of two provisions that will benefit federal workers and prospective employees. The first will give all federal civilian employees 12 weeks of paid leave for the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child. The benefit will apply to roughly 2 million employees. Federal workers currently have access to 12 weeks of unpaid leave through the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). The National Partnership on Women and Families said the measure, “promotes economic justice for women and women of color.” The American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) called the deal the “first major benefit expansion for federal workers since FMLA was enacted in 1993” and said it will continue to advocate for a broader paid leave law – including one that allows workers paid leave to care for other family members – for all workers.
The second provision will prohibit federal agencies and private-sector federal contractors from asking about job applicants’ arrest and conviction record until later in the hiring process. The National Employment Law Project (NELP), which has been involved in the “Ban the Box” campaign for years, said in a statement, “By requiring employers to hold off on asking job applicants about their conviction records until after a conditional job offer has been made, more than 700,000 Americans will gain a fairer chance at finding employment and securing a better future for themselves and their families.”
The provisions were passed as part of the defense authorization compromise bill (known as the conference report), which is a broad package affecting defense and security policies. The bill cleared the House on Dec. 11, and the Senate passed the legislation on Dec. 17. President Trump is expected to sign the measure in the evening of Friday, December 20.