Biden & Parental Leave: Trump Administration Officials Lost Paid Time Off under Transition Team

President Joe Biden speaks at the White House in Washington, D.C., January 26, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

In an article late yesterday evening, Politico reports that several former officials in the Trump administration who had been granted parental leave at the end of 2020 lost the remainder of their paid time off after the incoming administration took over:

After four years in the Trump administration, Vanessa Ambrosini was looking forward to three months of parental leave when she and her husband welcomed a baby a week before Christmas. The Commerce Department’s human resources office had given her approval for it. But then she was surprised to find out the benefit was no longer available because of the change in administration.

“I got completely screwed,” she said in an interview. “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.”

According to Politico, Ambrosini is one of several former Trump-administration employees who found out unexpectedly, and contrary to what they had been assured, that their parental-leave benefits expired when President Trump left office. Several of those employees told Politico they asked Biden’s transition team honor the remainder of their leave, but the transition staff declined to do so.

“The Biden White House declined to speak about the issue on record,” the report notes. “Instead, an official noted anonymously that political appointees ‘do not enjoy the promise of federal employment past the end of the administration in which they choose to serve.’” The same official told Politico that “appointees have been advised that they have options including COBRA and the Affordable Care Act.”

Another couple, who had worked for the Department of Homeland Security under Trump, said they had been assured their parental-leave benefits would be treated as if they were career rather than political appointees. Shortly after their baby was born prematurely, they were informed that was no longer the case.

“It’s one thing if you have a household, if you have one family member who works for the government,” the father told Politico. “But we were both employed by the government so we’re losing both of our opportunities for health care and both our incomes, so it’s pretty scary to have a premature baby at home and not knowing if you’re going to have an income or health insurance.”

Biden’s transition team explicitly denied the couple’s request to roll over their parental-leave benefits into a few weeks of the next administration. As the Politico report notes, the Biden administration is under no obligation to extend the employment of former Trump officials in order to enable them to finish their time off. But given how often Democrats accuse conservatives of failing to care about the needs of families, it’s especially conspicuous that they chose not to do so.

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