Friday, June 27, 2008

What Does Pro-Family Mean to Conservatives?

If they’re lucky, federal employees might get some more time to spend with their children. Introduced by Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, the Federal Employees Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) will grant four weeks of paid parental leave federal employees to after giving birth, adopting, or taking in a foster child. The Federal Employees Paid Leave Act has been the first expansion of parental benefits since the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Currently, the Family Medical Leave Act allows people to take unpaid leave up to 12 weeks. Since the FMLA is non-paid, the FEPLA will financially assist parents while they take time off work to take care for their newborns by having them use accrued vacation time that includes sick time, and per approval by the Office of Personnel Management—Federal workers are able to take four weeks of unpaid time to take care of their children.

Since the passage of the FEPLA in the House, the Bush Administration has once again threatened to veto the bill saying that the act is a “costly, unnecessary, new paid leave entitlement.”

Even though Bush has stated that the FEPLA is unnecessary, other House members disagree with Bush’s statement, bill sponsor Carolyn Maloney. Maloney, a strong pro-choice leader, says that the FEPLA “will strengthen the federal government’s ability to compete for high quality employees.”

According to Office of Personnel Management, the availability of Federal level jobs is rapidly increasing due to many workers reaching retirement age and unsuccessful hiring. The FEPLA can potentially attract people to Federal level jobs, and also give the government that ability to compete with private-sectors employers.

In addition to assisting with hiring rates, providing federal workers with such benefits might say “Hey! Maybe the government really does care about family.” Vetoing the bill is a clear contradiction to his “family values” position and so-called dedication to children. This is something conservatives do over and over again –adopting policies that go directly against those values they espouse, like protecting the family.

Providing parents with the financial stability to care for their newborn while they are on leave from work is a kind and common sense policy. It’s completely absurd, for a pro-family politician like Bush, to force federal employees to choose between caring for their child and receiving a month’s worth of pay.

So, what do you think, is Bush as pro-family as he says he is?

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