Thursday, February 4, 2021

No, you don’t get to keep your paid leave after your position is eliminated

The headline reads, "Trump aides made a late request to Team Biden to extend their parental leave. They said no." Here's the story:
[A] number of ex-Trump political officials … lost their parental leave when Joe Biden was sworn into office. It's a byproduct of the field they're in: Their boss (the president) may have been the one let go, but his departure has meant that they, too, lose their jobs and benefits. Still, they argue that the Biden administration should have honored their leave by keeping them on payroll until the end of it — a request that … the Biden transition did not grant.
One such employee, Vanessa Ambrosini, welcomed a new baby the week before Christmas, and was looking forward to parental leave through mid to late March. "I got completely screwed," she says.

No, Vanessa, you didn't. What you got was unemployed, a fact of which you should have been well aware since at least November 7. In fact, you should have been aware of it for more than a month before you started your maternity leave. It seems to me these employees are trying to take advantage of the consequences of which they were well aware in an attempt to make the new administration look bad. I don't buy it.

A number of people have suggested to me that this should be a "Worst Employer" nominee. I disagree. Take, for example, an employee on paid leave when their division is eliminated. They don't get paid for an extra __ number of weeks just because they happened to have been on leave when the job went away. 

And this case is qualitatively better for the Biden White House than a private-sector employee on a leave. These employees were political appointees. Their jobs ended when the last administration ended. They have zero entitlement to a job or any leave that goes with it. It was unreasonable for them to rely on any promise of anything beyond the date on which their job was eliminated. Once Trump lost the election, they knew the consequences come 1/20/21. I don’t think the Biden administration did anything out of bounds here, and I'd say the same if the parties were flipped. If these remained in their jobs in the new administration, the Biden and team should have honored the leave. But no job = no leave.

* Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash