Young joins bipartisan, bicameral call for OPM to update paid parental leave info

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) must prioritize updating its 2015 handbook and associated fact sheets on its “Leave Administration” web page to include current and accurate paid parental leave information as soon as possible, say U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) and other members of the bipartisan, bicameral Paid Leave Working Group.

In a Feb. 5 letter sent to OPM Director Kiran Ahuja, the senators pointed out that OPM handbooks and web pages haven’t been updated since 2019, before enactment of the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA) of 2019, which authorized a new paid parental leave benefit for most federal civilian employees.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) by law had to review the status of federal paid parental leave, including the new benefit, and in a report issued in January recommended that OPM take more steps to raise awareness of the parental leave benefit.

“The [GAO] report revealed some encouraging news about parental leave benefits for federal civilian employees,” wrote Sen. Young and his colleagues. “However, the report also detailed that perhaps the most important communication channels, the public-facing web pages of the selected agencies, ‘did not reflect current paid parental leave policies.’”

The GAO report also found that OPM’s Leave Administration web page is also out of date, and includes a handbook on paid leave that is nearly a decade out of date and has no fact sheets on FEPLA, they wrote. 

“We are deeply concerned that when asked about this, OPM officials said they had not completed updating the Handbook on Leave and Workplace Flexibilities for Childbirth, Adoption, and Foster Care because “they had competing priorities and limited staff available.” In our view, this explanation is inadequate to justify this long delay, and it is essential that OPM prioritize updating its handbook,” wrote the senators.

They urged OPM to take immediate action and follow the recommendations of the GAO report.

Among the 13 lawmakers who joined Sen. Young in signing the letter were U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Stephanie Bice (R-OK), and U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA).