Just in time for the holidays, P.L. 116-92 has been signed into law.  This Department of Defense authorization bill contains a provision for paid parental leave for federal employees up to 12 weeks, the first time such paid leave has been offered to employees of the federal government. The law is of course not without some restrictions, and only applies for purposes related to births, adoptions, or foster placements after September 30 of 2019.

In many ways, the law mirrors the language of the current unpaid parental leave specified by the Family and Medical Leave Act.

For instance, the employee must have completed 12 months of employment to use said leave; the time need not be used consecutively but any unused amount is forfeited after 12 months; employees do not need to use annual or sick leave first; the time used for parental leave reduces the amount of unpaid leave available for personal or family medial purposes; and the employee must agree to work for their respective agency for at least 12 weeks after returning or otherwise refund the government its share of health insurance premiums during the leave period. The law does not specify or address eligibility to use the leave, but it can be presumed that the current policies applicable to unpaid leave will apply to paid leave.