Ask Molly: Parental Leave

June 9, 2021

Dear Molly,

I would love to work for CIA one day, but I’d also like to start a family. I’ve heard that the federal government isn’t as generous as the private sector when it comes to parental leave, and I was hoping you could clarify those policies for officers at CIA.

~ Striking a Balance

* * * * *


Dear Striking a Balance,

What a timely question. With Father’s Day right around the corner, and Mother’s Day just a few weeks behind us, this is a perfect time to talk about parental leave. It is hard to overstate how important these policies are to fostering a healthy work environment for our officers. Kudos to you for doing your research in advance. When selecting an employer, it’s important to consider how the employer’s leave policies might affect your future work-life balance.

When it comes to CIA’s parental leave policies, like other federal agencies, the Agency follows the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act (FEPLA), which went into effect last October. Among other things, the FEPLA allows eligible employees to take 12 weeks of paid parental leave in connection with a qualifying birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child. This entitlement applies to all new parents that qualify and can be used consecutively or intermittently during the 12-month period following that qualifying event. To qualify, an employee must have completed at least 12 months of federal service prior to taking PPL, have a part-time or full-time schedule, and have an appointment to Agency service of more than one year. For additional information on qualifying conditions, please visit

FEPLA has brought the federal workforce more in-line with many private sector employers’ parental leave policies. Its passage recognizes the importance of these issues to employee morale, productivity, and retention.

With that said, CIA’s support to parents doesn’t stop with FEPLA. The Agency maintains a robust employee wellness framework that, among other things, provides support to working parents in the form of childcare subsidies to qualifying employees, flexible work schedules, daycare availability, and a range of workshops and individualized support through its Employee Assistance Program. Additionally, there are a number of employee-created communities to discuss topics of work-life balance, to include a working parents group. These groups allow officers to share personal strategies and resources for a number of work-life balance concerns.

So, Striking a Balance, if you decide to apply for a position at CIA, rest assured that you have found a workplace that values a healthy work-life balance prioritizes employee health and wellness, and encourages our officers to put their families first.


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