WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden is host to former President Bill Clinton to mark the 30th anniversary of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the first law signed by the 42nd president after taking office in 1993.
Biden and Clinton will participate in an event Thursday at the White House to draw attention to legislation that guarantees many American workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave to recover from a serious illness or childbirth or to care for sick family members. Clinton signed the bill into law on February 5, 1993.
Biden fought but failed to gain support for paid leave for workers in 2021. He will sign a memorandum on Thursday urging federal agency heads to support access to unpaid family and medical leave for federal workers in their first year on the job, the White House said. By law, workers are not entitled to unpaid leave until they have been employed for one year.
The President also directs the Office of Personnel Management to provide recommendations on policy development so that workers can receive paid and unpaid leave to seek safety or recover from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Such situations are not covered by the law on family leave.
“This event is a moment to recognize the difference the Family and Medical Leave Act has made and continues to make for millions of Americans,” said Jen Klein, White House director of gender policy. “The president will recognize the work that remains to be done to support workers, including reaffirming this administration’s commitment to enacting a national paid family and medical leave program.”
In early 2021, Biden proposed a significant expansion family leave legislation to give workers up to 12 weeks of paid parental, family and personal sick leave and to ensure workers get three days of bereavement leave a year as part of a massive $3.5 trillion social spending plan.
His plan called for providing workers with up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of their average weekly wages being replaced. The White House estimated the program would cost more than $225 billion over a decade.
Paid family leave was not included in the reduced climate and health care law that Biden signed into law in August.
It won’t be Clinton’s first visit to the Biden White House. Biden hosted Clintonfellow Democrat, at the White House in May for lunch.