The House Post Office-Civil Service Committee unanimously approved four pro-federal worker bills yesterday dealing with pension increases, parental and long-term illness leave, retirement credit and health care.
One of the bills promises a January cost-of-living adjustment to government retirees and survivors. Another would set minimum government standards for the first time for parental leave and protect the jobs of employes with long-term illness who run out of sick leave.
Under the guaranteed-COLA bill, introduced by Rep. Mary Rose Oakar (D-Ohio), more than 2 million federal retirees and survivors, including nearly 100,000 here, would get an inflation catch-up next year, regardless of any budget-cutting actions ordered by Congress or the White House.
Retirees lost out on a 3.1 percent COLA last January when Congress killed the raise because of the Gramm- Rudman-Hollings amendment to the deficit reduction law. Oakar's bill would prevent a repeat of that action.
The Senate is considering a similar COLA guarantee. House passage of the bill requires 218 votes. Oakar already has pledges of support from 273 cosponsors.
U.S. workers would be guaranteed time off and job protection under a second bill cleared by the committee.
The proposal by Reps. William L. Clay (D-Mo.), Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo.) and Oakar would require agencies to set minimum leave-without-pay policies for parents. Some agencies now grant such leave, while others do not.
The bill would direct agencies to guarantee up to 18 weeks of leave over a two-year period for employes to care for newborns, newly adopted children or children who are sick. It also provides up to 26 weeks of unpaid leave for employes who suffer serious illness. Agencies may now grant extended leave without pay once employes have exhausted sick leave, but there is no federal policy on it.
The committee also cleared a bill that would allow civilian technicians employed by the National Guard before 1969 to credit their time toward civil service retirement. Technicians hired by the National Guard since that time are already permitted to combine their service time with federal civilian service to boost their pensions.
The committee also approved a bill that would permit direct reimbursement under the federal employes health plan to nurse practitioners, social workers and certain other "nonmedical" personnel who help treat or take care of covered employes or family members. Many health plans now exclude payments for those services.
All the bills must still be passed by the full House, and the Senate before they can be sent to the president. Title Evolution
The Merit Systems Protection Board says its attorney-examiners, formerly called presiding officials, will henceforth be known as administrative judges. The agency, set up by the Carter administration to protect federal whistle blowers, says the new title more accurately describes their duties and functions. Such title changes in government often precede reclassifications and pay raises. Watch this space! New Home
The American Postal Workers Union later this year will move from its headquarters in the 800 block of 14th Street NW to a new building at 1300 L St. NW. Many visiting union members have been jolted at their first sight of the 14th Street office, which stands in a row of what were once adult entertainment establishments. Most of which are now gone.