WASHINGTON – Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) told PJM that she has reached out to Ivanka Trump about working together on a parental leave plan for federal workers.
Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) hopes Ivanka can “convince” her father, President Trump, to support the proposal.
Maloney, Hoyer and other members of Congress including Reps. Don Beyer (D-Va.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) have reintroduced the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act (FEPPLA), which would allow federal employees to take 6 weeks of paid leave after the “birth, adoption or fostering of a child.” The lawmakers said their plan applies to both mothers and fathers.
In a September interview with Cosmopolitan magazine, Ivanka said, “It is a terrible thing that we are the only industrialized nation in the world that does not offer paid maternity leave and I am excited to be part of a dialogue about this and, hopefully under a Trump administration, have that changed.”
PJM asked Maloney if she plans to team up with Ivanka Trump to promote the parental leave plan and if she thinks they could find some common ground.
“I hope so. I did call her. I did send her a copy of the legislation. I sent her the information of how we have approached it over the years. She said she was interested in meeting with us and talking with us about it. She hasn’t gotten back to me. She is very busy, I am sure, but I did reach out to her and I hope to have an opportunity to speak and explore it more in person with her,” Maloney said during a press conference outside of the Capitol building on Monday.
In response to the same question, Hoyer said, “We’re optimistic that her father can reach common ground with her. At the convention, she spoke about this issue. She’s had children. She knows the challenges it imposes and hopefully she’ll be able to convince her father that not only should we provide it for women, we should provide it for fathers as well – mothers and fathers.”
Hoyer said employees should not be forced to use the few paid vacation days and sick days they have available when their baby is born.
“We’re going to encourage more private-sector businesses to adopt paid-leave policies. We ought to set an example as one of the largest employers in the world by doing so for the federal workforce. At the same time, we owe a great deal more to the hardworking federal workforce than they are receiving, particularly amid the pay freezes, hiring freezes and benefit cuts they have had to endure,” Hoyer said.
“Adopting this legislation would help us retain the best workers we have and recruit other talented Americans to serve their country in the civilian federal workforce because we are competing for the best talent, not only companies here but around the world that have these leave policies already in place,” he added.
Beyer echoed Hoyer by saying that Congress should pass the parental leave plan and “make federal employees feel good again.”
“So often on Capitol Hill the reason Republicans oppose things is because it costs new money. They say, ‘where’s the money going to come from?’ This is one of those rare, wonderful bills that actually generates income for the taxpayer,” he said.
“There’s a lot of evidence that shows a 12-week maternity leave period generates much more of a return of women to the workplace than does an 8-week or a 6-week, so good long-term, medium-term maternity leave saves you all the retraining costs, all the HR costs, all the lost productivity of losing that person,” Beyer added.