The Foreign Service Journal, November 2015

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL | NOVEMBER 2015 79 AFSA NEWS Fighting for Foreign Service Families On Sept. 15, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) introduced the Federal Employees Paid Parental Leave Act in the U.S. Senate. If enacted, the legislation would provide federal employees with six weeks of paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for the birth, adop- tion or fostering of a child. The American Foreign Service Association was one of the first to publicly endorse the Senate bill, as we had pre- viously done with the House version—the Paid Parental Leave Act, first introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) in January. It is now up to the new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), to determine the future of the bill. Rep. Maloney has intro- duced eight versions of the bill since 2000.While the House has passed two previous iterations (in 2008 and 2009), the Senate’s inaction until now has ensured the matter remains unresolved. Both the House and Sen- ate bills seek to allow federal employees to take a total of 12 weeks of leave under FMLA in the event of a new birth, adoption or foster placement, using a combination of up to six weeks paid parental leave and any accrued annual and/ or sick leave. They also direct the Office of Personnel Management to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to determine whether increasing paid parental leave up to 12 weeks would help the federal government’s reten- tion efforts and benefit lower- income and economically disadvantaged employees and their children. Previous AFSA actions on this matter have included the following: • In March 2014, the association co-signed a letter with Balancing Act at State, GLIFAA and ExecutiveWomen at State, asking Secretary of State John Kerry to imple- ment eight specific measures to further improve work- life balance (see www.bit. ly/1KvCRJs). • In January 2015, AFSA sent a letter to President Barack Obama thanking him for his memorandum direct- ing agencies to allow federal workers to take six weeks of advanced paid sick leave to care for a new child or ill fam- ily members. Now that the Senate has taken action on this matter, AFSAwill work with Sen- ate and House leaders from both sides of the aisle to take advantage of the momentum on the issue and to, hopefully, turn these bills into law. We encourage AFSA members to call or write your elected officials, requesting that they consider co-spon- soring the Federal Employee Paid Parental Leave Act. For questions on legislative issues or to share your con- cerns, please send an email to n —Javier Cuebas, Director of Advocacy AFSAGoverning Board Meeting SEPTEMBER 2 , 20 1 5 August Governing Board Minutes: On a consent motion fromAFSA State Representative Philip Laidlaw, the board approved the Aug. 5 Governing Board minutes. The motion passed unanimously. Appointment of Committee Liaisons: On a series of motions, the board appointed the following AFSA Governing Board members to various AFSA committees: Josh Glazeroff (Awards), John Dinkelman (Scholarships), TriciaWingerter (Foreign Service Journal Editorial Board) and Al La Porta (Foreign Service Profession and Ethics). The motions passed unanimously. Foreign Service Labor Relations Board: On a motion made by AFSA Retiree Vice President Tom Boyatt, the board agreed to nominate Ambassador (ret.) Hank Cohen and incumbent Stephen Ledford to the FSLRB. The motion passed unanimously. OPM Data Breach: The board continued discussion on this summer’s cyber breaches. One day prior to the meeting, the federal government awarded a $133 million contract to Identity Theft Guard Solutions LLC to provide identity protec- tion for those whose information was compromised. The AFSA Governing Board resolved to continue advocating for the interests of the Foreign Service. Updated 3 FAM 4170 Regarding Public Speaking, Teaching, Writing and Media Engagement: The board discussed the implications of the latest changes to the rules governing the review process for employees’ official and unofficial public speaking, teaching, writing and media engagements. Retirees are bound by 3 FAM 4200, which restricts the release of classified information or official records for personal gain. AFSA staff will develop member guidance clearly outlining the new policy, including any appli- cability to retirees. n AFSA ON THE HILL