STATEMENT: U.S. Senate Vote to Block Paid Family Leave Legislation Hurts Women and Families, Says CAP’s Shilpa Phadke

Washington, D.C. — Today, by a vote of 47 to 48, the United States Senate rejected a motion with bipartisan support sponsored by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) to instruct the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Conference Committee to consider the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA). FEPLA would extend 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave to more than 2 million civilian federal employees. The measure was included in the House-passed defense reauthorization legislation but excluded from the Senate’s version of the bill.

Shilpa Phadke, vice president of the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

The Senate majority’s refusal to even consider commonsense paid family leave legislation makes clear that it is out of touch with the needs of working families. Too many workers are forced to choose between their job security and caring for a sick child or parent, which is why more than 8 in 10 Americans support providing workers with comprehensive paid family and medical leave. Empty rhetoric about paid family leave won’t save a worker’s job, nor will it comfort a working parent with an ailing loved one. In narrowly voting down FEPLA, the Senate’s actions show that it is unwilling to even take the first step in guaranteeing a benefit that is available to workers in every other industrialized country in the world. It is time to stop talking and start leading on paid leave.

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Colin Seeberger at or 202-741-6292.