WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than 2 million federal workers will get paid parental leave for the first time, for 12 weeks, following a birth or adoption, under U.S. legislation poised to pass the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday he was eager to sign the bill which contains the provision that has had strong support from his adviser and daughter Ivanka.
The United States has lagged other wealthy nations, notably in Europe, that provide civil servants with income for as much as a year and longer while they take time off to raise a family.
U.S. civilian federal workers do not have paid family leave.
The extended paid leave provision is part of the annual defense policy bill known as the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA. The Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate Armed Services Committees announced their compromise version of the NDAA late on Monday, after months of negotiations.
The Senate has yet to vote on the bill.
As one of the few pieces of major legislation Congress passes every year, the act becomes a vehicle for a range of policy measures and directives ranging from military pay levels to which ships or aircraft will be modernized, purchased or discontinued.
Adam Smith, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, claimed the family leave policy inclusion in the bill as a victory. “I am proud that this bill will change the lives of millions by providing paid parental leave,” he said in a press statement on Wednesday afternoon ahead of the house vote.
Aparna Mathur, a resident scholar in economic and policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, said Ivanka Trump had pushed the family leave issue with both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill over the past two years.
“Paid leave as a pro-work and a pro-family issue,” Mathur said. “Given demographic changes in the workplace, giving both parents the tools to take time off work to meet family needs is critical to fostering economic growth and for labor force participation.”
“It’s an important investment in the future of our country,” Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney said at a news conference with labor leaders who praised the provision.
Reporting by Mike Stone; Editing by Richard Chang