Ocasio-Cortez touts office parental leave policy

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Ocasio-Cortez touts office parental leave policy
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Rep. (D-N.Y.) on Friday outlined her congressional office’s parental leave policy, touting a progressive approach that would grant both mothers and fathers 12 weeks of paid time off after a child is born or adopted.

The freshman lawmaker promoted the plan in a lengthy Twitter thread, noting that three members of her staff are expectant or new parents.

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“Expecting a child has nothing to do with our hiring decisions, & we do everything we can to accommodate,” she tweeted. “We work to be a pro-family workplace.”

“Paid parental leave applies to ALL new parents, period. Moms, dads, parents; biological or adopted. If you’ve got a new child, you get 12 weeks to spend adjusting your family to this huge transition.”

Ocasio-Cortez added that the 12 weeks can be spent nonconsecutively and that her office is working to give staffers the option of bringing their children to work.

The progressive firebrand also tied her parental leave policy to equal pay, a top priority among the Democratic Party base.

“Equal pay at work is about SO much more than the salary you offer. If you give dads less paid parental leave than moms, you’re contributing to the pay gap. If you see pregnancy or family as a workplace obstacle, you’re contributing to the pay gap,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Work + family can go together, but we have to break down the barriers that force people to choose between them.”

Her comments come as House lawmakers examine the details of a possible chamber-wide paid family leave policy.

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“There is interest among Members of Congress to investigate the feasibility of implementing a standard House-wide paid family leave policy,” the House Appropriations Committee wrote in a report accompanying the fiscal 2020 House Legislative Branch Appropriations bill, which would direct the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer to analyze the establishment of a House-wide paid family and medical leave policy.

Paid maternity and paternity leave policies for congressional offices are currently left up to individual lawmakers. Thousands of congressional staffers are covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act, but the family leave is unpaid.

A group of Republican lawmakers introduced legislation in March that would allow people to pull forward some of their Social Security benefits to use for paid parental leave.

Presidential candidate Sen. (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats in February reintroduced a paid family leave bill that would allow people to take paid family and medical leave for up to 12 weeks. The measure would be paid for through small increases in payroll taxes.

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