Changes in federal workers’ leave benefits extended to heterosexual partners, grandparents

Posted by Ed O'Keefe on

"Federal workers may use sick leave or funeral leave in cases of ailing or deceased domestic partners starting July 14, the Office of Personnel Management said Monday.

"Unlike other recent changes to federal personnel policies that apply only to same-sex partners, the new orders also apply to opposite-sex domestic partners.

"The policy change, published in Monday's Federal Register, is part of reforms ordered last year by President Obama when he extended fringe benefits to the same-sex partners of gay federal workers. The fringe benefits were not extended to opposite-sex partners because, the administration said, heterosexual couples can obtain them through marriage.

"The change announced Monday adds opposite-sex and same-sex partners, stepparents, stepchildren, grandparents and grandchildren to the list of relationships that permit a federal worker to take leave.

"The changes do not apply to the Family and Medical Leave Act, a law that requires all public and private employers to give up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to care for newborns or sick relatives. Congress would have to change that law.

"OPM added stepparents, stepchildren, grandparents and grandchildren at the request of agencies and workers concerned that the personnel policy did not explicitly list them. Monday's notice in the Federal Register also reminded workers that they can take leave for sick or dying relatives who are not explicitly listed in the notice."

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