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The White House
April 11, 1997
SUBJECT: Expanded Family and Medical Leave Policies
I have strongly supported meeting Federal employees' family and medical leave needs through enactment of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and the Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act of 1994 (FEFFLA). However, Federal employees often have important family and medical needs that do not qualify for unpaid leave under the FMLA or sick leave under the FEFFLA. I ask you to take immediate action to assist Federal workers further in balancing the demands of work and family.
Last year I proposed to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993. My legislation would allow Federal and eligible private sector workers 24 hours of unpaid leave during any 12-month period to fulfill certain family obligations. Under the legislation, employees could use unpaid leave to participate in school activities directly related to the educational advancement of a child, including early childhood education activities; accompany children to routine medical and dental examinations; and tend to the needs of older relatives.
In furtherance of my proposed policy, I ask that you take immediate action within existing statutory authorities to ensure that Federal employees may schedule and be granted up to 24 hours of leave without pay each year for the following activities:
This new policy will assure that Federal employees can schedule and receive up to 24 hours away from the job each year for these family and medical circumstances. I also urge you to accommodate these employee needs as mission requirements permit, even when it is not possible for employees to anticipate or schedule leave in advance for these purposes. In addition, I ask that you support employees' requests to schedule paid time off--such as annual leave, compensatory time off, and credit hours under flexible work schedules--for these family activities when such leave is available to these employee. The Office of Personnel Management shall provide guidance to you on the implementation of this memorandum.
I encourage you to use a partnership approach with your employees and their representatives in developing an effective program that balances the employees' needs to succeed both at work and at home. I ask agencies, unions, and management associations to continue to work together to assess and improve the use of family-friendly programs and to make certain that employees are aware of the expanded family and medical leave policy.
William J. Clinton
The President is asking Federal agencies to assist employees further in meeting their work and family demands. While the President is asking Congress to enact his legislative proposal to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, he is also asking agencies to use their currently available administrative authorities to ensure that employees may schedule and be granted up to 24 hours of leave without pay for three purposes:
In addition, the President asks agencies to support employees' requests to schedule paid time off, such as annual leave, sick leave, compensatory time off, and credit hours under flexible work schedules for these family activities when these options are available to the employee.
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, covered Federal employees are entitled to a total of 12 administrative workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12-month period for (a) the birth of a son or daughter and care of the newborn; (b) the placement of a son or daughter with the employee for adoption or foster care; (c) the care of a spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition; and (d) a serious health condition of the employee that makes the employee unable to perform the duties of his or her position. (See Federal Employees Entitlements Under the Family and Medical Leave Act.)
Federal employees may use a portion of their accrued sick leave each leave year to care for a family member. (See Sick Leave for Family Care and Bereavement and Sick Leave to Care for a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition.)
Employees may request advance annual or sick leave or leave without pay from their agencies for these purposes.
Federal employees are entitled to use 7 days of paid leave each calendar year (in addition to annual or sick leave) to serve as a bone-marrow donor and up to 30 days each calendar year to serve as an organ donor. (See Bone Marrow and Organ Donation Leave.)
The Federal leave transfer program allows Federal employees to donate annual leave to other Federal employees who have medical emergencies and who have exhausted their own leave. Federal leave banks allow employees to contribute a specified amount of annual leave yearly to their agency leave bank. Leave bank members with medical emergencies can withdraw leave from the bank if they exhaust their own leave. (See Leave Transfer Program and Leave Bank Program.)
There is no certain order for using the various family friendly leave policies discussed in the President's memorandum. The employee must consider his or her current leave balances and determine (1) whether the situation meets the requirements and obligations of a specific leave program and (2) which leave policy or program best fits his or her needs.
Employees may now choose from an array of family friendly leave policies to meet their family and medical needs. For example, if an employee needs time off from work to accompany his or her child to a doctor's appointment, he or she may use sick leave. If the use of sick leave is not an available option, an employee may request leave without pay or, as available, annual leave, compensatory time off, or credit hours under flexible work schedules for purposes of the expanded family friendly leave policies discussed in the President's memorandum. In addition, an employee may request advance annual or sick leave from his or her agency. If the child's condition develops into a serious health condition, the employee may invoke his or her entitlement to unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 and, if appropriate, may choose to substitute annual leave or sick leave for the unpaid leave. If the employee is experiencing a personal or family medical emergency and has exhausted all of his or her available annual and sick leave, he or she may apply to become a leave recipient under the agency's leave transfer and/or leave bank programs.
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