The US Postal Service, Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) are three government agencies that negotiate their pay and benefits independently from other organizations. On October 27th, the SEC joined the FDIC as the only federal agencies to offer paid parental leave. Unlike the FDIC, however, the SEC administrative staff isn’t waiting until 2020 to implement the policy. Despite ongoing negotiations over their current labor contract, the SEC is letting their employees utilize 12 weeks of paid parental leave to care for a newborn infant or a newly adopted kid. The 12-week period does not need to be used consecutively so long as it is used in a singular 12-month timeframe. Annual and sick leave balances do not need to be used first, but can be, and the 12- week unpaid leave already offered throughout the Federal workforce for parental/personal/medical reasons can still be used under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), either after or before the newly available paid 12-week bucket is tapped into.               

   Interestingly, this leads directly to an update about the budgetary measures threatening another government shutdown. On Tuesday, Congress approved a stop-gap measure to prevent another shutdown for four weeks, so until December 20th. The emergency measure would decree a 3.1% raise for military personnel, too. Congress will vote on another emergency bill later on Thursday. The President is expected to ratify the measures before midnight, but that’s what we were told last time.

In July, 10 out of 12 bills needed to keep the Government functioning were ratified, but the remaining two pieces of legislation have gone nowhere in months. Items of contention include the border wall, a merger between OPM and GSA, and then some unsettled matters regarding benefits for Feds: paid parental leave. The House version of the outstanding measures contains language that prevents the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) from merging with the General Service Administration (GSA), and also makes the 12-week unpaid FMLA leave into paid parental/personal/medical leave for the majority of Federal Employees. How this move would impact the SEC’s current parental leave structure is uncertain.

Until Next Time,

**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner. The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective

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