House bill calls for 6 weeks of paid leave for federal employees

House Democrats are responding to President Obama’s call for a bill on paid leave.

On Monday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and three of their Democratic colleagues announced the reintroduction of The Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act.

The bill would give federal employees six weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.

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The bill comes after Obama’s renewed push for a paid leave policy. Earlier this month, he signed a presidential memorandum giving federal employees access to six weeks of paid parental leave by allowing new parents to advance their sick time.

He also called on Congress to tack on another six weeks through legislation and pass the Healthy Families Act to give U.S. citizens the ability to earn seven days of paid sick time off a year. 

“I remember being a young mother and asking about the leave policy when I became pregnant," said Maloney, ranking Democrat on the Joint Economic Committee. “I was told, ‘What leave? You just leave!’ It is outrageous that decades later we still don’t have the same basic right that most of the rest of the world enjoys. This is not only wrong; it’s bad for our economy.”   

The United States and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries in the world that don’t offer paid maternity leave.

“This doesn’t cost the government one dime,” said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) “Why wouldn’t we pass this.”