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Fighting for Foreign Service Families

On Sept. 15, U.S. Senators

Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and

Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)

introduced the Federal

Employees Paid Parental

Leave Act in the U.S. Senate. If

enacted, the legislation would

provide federal employees

with six weeks of paid leave

under the Family and Medical

Leave Act for the birth, adop-

tion or fostering of a child.

The American Foreign

Service Association was one

of the first to publicly endorse

the Senate bill, as we had pre-

viously done with the House

version—the Paid Parental

Leave Act, first introduced

by Representative Carolyn

Maloney (D-N.Y.) in January. It

is now up to the new chairman

of the House Committee on

Oversight and Government

Reform, Rep. Jason Chaffetz

(R-Utah), to determine the

future of the bill.

Rep. Maloney has intro-

duced eight versions of the bill

since 2000.While the House

has passed two previous

iterations (in 2008 and 2009),

the Senate’s inaction until

now has ensured the matter

remains unresolved.

Both the House and Sen-

ate bills seek to allow federal

employees to take a total of

12 weeks of leave under FMLA

in the event of a new birth,

adoption or foster placement,

using a combination of up to

six weeks paid parental leave

and any accrued annual and/

or sick leave.

They also direct the Office

of Personnel Management

to conduct a cost-benefit

analysis to determine whether

increasing paid parental leave

up to 12 weeks would help the

federal government’s reten-

tion efforts and benefit lower-

income and economically

disadvantaged employees and

their children.

Previous AFSA actions on

this matter have included the


• In March 2014, the

association co-signed a letter

with Balancing Act at State,

GLIFAA and ExecutiveWomen

at State, asking Secretary of

State John Kerry to imple-

ment eight specific measures

to further improve work-

life balance (see www.bit. ly/1KvCRJs).

• In January 2015, AFSA

sent a letter to President

Barack Obama thanking him

for his memorandum direct-

ing agencies to allow federal

workers to take six weeks of

advanced paid sick leave to

care for a new child or ill fam-

ily members.

Now that the Senate has

taken action on this matter,

AFSAwill work with Sen-

ate and House leaders from

both sides of the aisle to take

advantage of the momentum

on the issue and to, hopefully,

turn these bills into law.

We encourage AFSA

members to call or write your

elected officials, requesting

that they consider co-spon-

soring the Federal Employee

Paid Parental Leave Act.

For questions on legislative

issues or to share your con-

cerns, please send an email to


—Javier Cuebas,

Director of Advocacy


Board Meeting

SEPTEMBER 2 , 20 1 5

August Governing Board Minutes:

On a consent motion

fromAFSA State Representative Philip Laidlaw, the board

approved the Aug. 5 Governing Board minutes. The motion

passed unanimously.

Appointment of Committee Liaisons:

On a series of

motions, the board appointed the following AFSA Governing

Board members to various AFSA committees: Josh Glazeroff

(Awards), John Dinkelman (Scholarships), TriciaWingerter

(Foreign Service Journal Editorial Board) and Al La Porta

(Foreign Service Profession and Ethics). The motions passed


Foreign Service Labor Relations Board:

On a motion

made by AFSA Retiree Vice President Tom Boyatt, the

board agreed to nominate Ambassador (ret.) Hank Cohen

and incumbent Stephen Ledford to the FSLRB. The motion

passed unanimously.

OPM Data Breach:

The board continued discussion on

this summer’s cyber breaches. One day prior to the meeting,

the federal government awarded a $133 million contract to

Identity Theft Guard Solutions LLC to provide identity protec-

tion for those whose information was compromised. The

AFSA Governing Board resolved to continue advocating for

the interests of the Foreign Service.

Updated 3 FAM 4170 Regarding Public Speaking,

Teaching, Writing and Media Engagement:

The board

discussed the implications of the latest changes to the

rules governing the review process for employees’ official

and unofficial public speaking, teaching, writing and media

engagements. Retirees are bound by 3 FAM 4200, which

restricts the release of classified information or official

records for personal gain. AFSA staff will develop member

guidance clearly outlining the new policy, including any appli-

cability to retirees.