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Office of the Director
United States
Office of Personnel Management
Washington, DC 20415-1000


James B. King

Expanded Family and Medical Leave Policies
President Clinton has signed a memorandum to heads of departments and agencies requesting that you take immediate action to ensure that employees may schedule and take up to 24 hours of leave without pay each year for participation in school activities, routine family medical appointments, and elderly relatives' health needs. In addition, the President asks that you support employees' requests to schedule paid leave or time off, such as annual leave, sick leave, compensatory time off, and credit hours under flexible work schedules for these family activities when such paid time off is available to the employee.

Last year, the President proposed to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to allow Federal and eligible private sector workers to take 24 hours of unpaid leave during any 12-month period 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. The proposed legislation builds upon our Government's ongoing efforts to create a family friendly work environment.

As you know, the Federal Government has an impressive array of family friendly leave flexibilities, including annual leave; sick leave; the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993; the Federal Employees Family Friendly Leave Act that currently permits the use of sick leave for family care, including routine medical and dental appointments; sick leave for adoption; leave transfer and leave bank programs; leave for bone marrow and organ donation; compensatory time off; alternative work schedules and credit hours; and leave without pay. These flexibilities are of great importance to employees and clearly enhance the commitment and productivity of the workforce. Although we have made great progress in achieving our goal of a family friendly work environment, more is needed. In his memorandum, the President asks agencies to support and encourage Federal workers in balancing the demands of work and family and to apply existing statutory authorities to ensure a family friendly workplace.

In accordance with the President's request, please analyze your existing department or agency family friendly policies and make appropriate revisions to ensure that they incorporate positive language to support the scheduling and granting of up to 24 hours of leave without pay each year for participation in school activities, routine family medical appointments, and elderly relatives' health or care needs.

I urge you to review how effective you have been in documenting and communicating your family friendly leave policies to all employees, supervisors, and managers. As you proceed, I also add my full support to the President's encouragement for you to implement his requests through the use of a partnership approach.

Questions may be referred to the Office of Personnel Management's Office of Compensation Policy on (202) 606-2858 or by FAX on (202) 606-0824 or email at Our Mission is to Recruit, Retain and Honor a
World-Class Workforce to Serve the American People
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