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OPM Interim Final Rule on Paid Parental Leave

SUMMARY:  NTEU submitted comments raising concerns over certain aspects of OPM’s interim final rule implementing the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act. 

Beginning on October 1, the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act will provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees after one year of service.  An employee who elects paid parental leave must agree in writing to return to work for 12 weeks after the leave concludes.   This obligation is excused if a serious health condition or other circumstance beyond the employee’s control prevents a return to work.  Otherwise, if the obligation is not fulfilled, an agency may seek reimbursement of its health insurance contributions for the employee during the paid leave. On August 10, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published an interim final rule implementing the Act.  Earlier this week, NTEU submitted comments to OPM objecting to certain provisions of its interim regulation.   NTEU urges OPM to modify its regulation to:

  • Make it easier for employees to retroactively elect paid parental leave;

  • Limit agency discretion to seek certification or documentation of the birth or placement and an agency’s ability to invalidate paid parental leave if it is not timely provided; 

  • Eliminate an agency’s ability to require additional medical certifications and medical examinations after a medical provider certifies that a serious health condition prevents the employee from returning to work;

  • Require an agency to bargain over, among other things, its discretion to seek reimbursement of healthcare contributions if an employee does not return to work for 12 weeks after paid parental leave;

  • Confirm that an agency may not seek reimbursement of healthcare contributions from an employee who is involuntarily separated before completing 12 weeks of work after paid parental leave; and,

  • Clarify that an employee using paid parental leave may also use annual leave to extend his or her paid time off.

NTEU will update members when OPM responds to NTEU’s comments.  Anthony M. Reardon National President Click below to view comments. Comments on Paid Parental Leave

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