Trump appointees are outraged that Biden abruptly cut short their paid parental leave when he became president
- Trump appointees told Politico that Biden ended their parental leave when he took office.
- Getting paid family leave is a recent win for federal employees; the law went into effect in October.
- Biden had no obligation to honor the leave, but experts said it would have set a good precedent.
Political appointees of President Donald Trump told Politico that President Joe Biden cut short their paid parental leave when he took office.
While Biden is under no obligation to honor family leave for Trump's political appointees, experts told the outlet that it would have set a good precedent.
The appointees who spoke with Politico all had paid family leave approved for a period spanning the end of the Trump administration and the beginning of the Biden administration.
While federal employees appointed by a president typically leave when that administration ends, these employees said they were told that their family leave would be honored by the incoming administration - only to learn at the last minute that it would end as soon as Biden was sworn in.
Vanessa Ambrosini, who was a deputy communications director at the Commerce Department, told Politico that she'd had a baby the week before Christmas and that her human-resources department signed off on her taking leave from early January to late March.
She said that the day before her baby was due, on December 17, she was told that her leave would end when Biden was sworn in.
"I got completely screwed," Ambrosini told Politico. "There were no caveats in that language saying anything about if the administration turns, you get nothing and of course, that happened and so I got nothing."
A couple who worked for Trump's Department of Homeland Security said they were told two weeks after their baby was born prematurely on December 18 that the agency had made a mistake and that their full leave would not be honored.
The couple told Politico that they had appealed directly to the incoming administration for special consideration but were told they would not get it.
"This is not what you were hoping to hear but I think you also knew that this was the most likely outcome," a Biden official told them in an email, which they shared with Politico. "I am sorry to be the bearer of this news and I am sorry I don't have other news."
Paid family leave for federal employees went into effect only last October, so there is no precedent for presidents honoring paid family leave for a previous administration's political appointees.
Biden had praised the law, tweeting that it was "about time that federal workers get paid parental leave" to "address their own health needs or care for any of their loved ones."
Biden's coronavirus relief proposal also includes paid leave and childcare subsidies.
—Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 18, 2019
While Biden had no legal obligation to honor paid family leave for Trump appointees who welcomed babies at the end of the administration, family-leave experts told Politico that it would have been a good look.
"Paid parental leave is really really important for maternal health, for child wellbeing, for family connectivity, and I can't imagine being in that new parents' shoes and not having the finances," Adrienne Schweer told Politico.
"Extending it to a couple people for a few months could be a good thing. There is precedent for unique circumstances, and I would love to see a good example set of ensuring that as many people as possible can have paid parental leave."
The Biden White House did not comment on the record to Politico about ending family-leave benefits, but an anonymous official told the outlet that there simply had not been enough time to consider special accommodations because the Trump administration had put off the transition until the last minute.
"We understand that a few Trump appointees, including a handful currently on parental leave, submitted last minute requests to remain on government payroll," the official told Politico. "Because these requests were received so close to Inauguration Day … there was no way to implement an exception to the rule in a way that is fair to all outgoing appointees, including many who resigned as expected without making requests for extraordinary benefits."
The White House did not respond to Insider's request for comment. The General Services Administration, the agency that handles presidential transitions, declined to comment.
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