Yesterday, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced H.R. 4806, a bill to help provide financial relief for federal employees who have a short-term injury or disability, become pregnant, or develop a pregnancy-related illness. Employees would be responsible for 100 percent of their insurance premiums.
Congresswoman Norton stated that “Although federal employees have good health insurance, federal health benefits do not replace lost income if employees are unable to work. Moreover, while federal employees may have available sick or annual leave days, they may not have enough such days to pay the bills if they have to be out of work for an extended period.” The Congresswoman believes that her bill will allow federal employees to obtain short-term disability insurance at a lower group rate than if purchased individually. She pointed out that the benefits under her bill will be particularly beneficial since federal employees still lack paid parental leave. Many federal employees do not take advantage of federal, unpaid maternity leave because they have no way to replace the lost income.
Specifically, the bill requires the Director of the Office of Personnel Management to establish and administer a program for short-term (up to 12 months) disability insurance coverage for federal employees for:
- an injury or disability that is not work-related,
- leave to care for a family member, and
- leave to make arrangements to become a foster parent or to adopt a child.
NTEU is still pursuing the passage of bills that provide paid parental leave to federal employees. To find out more, please visit the NTEU Legislative Action Center.