Biden Denied Parental Leave To Two DHS Employees

Trump political appointees Cherie Short and Michael Bars, who are married, were refused paid parental leave by Joe Biden’s presidential transition team in early 2021. The couple said they were solely interested in health insurance for their newborn and were not looking for a salary. According to Homeland Security authorities, a review of the request by the Biden-Harris transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, resulted in the refusal of the request. Short, who at the time worked for DHS and whose infant was delivered prematurely and required a week in the neonatal intensive care unit, claimed that Biden had stooped to an “all-time low” by attacking working women and their children.

Former President Trump put into law 2019 a policy that provides “12 weeks’ paid parental leave for government workers,” which Biden explicitly endorsed. Documents acquired by the Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project indicate that Biden’s transition team was less dedicated to the idea in early 2021.

During the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security changed its policy on paid parental leave for new hires. Political appointees from the opposite party’s previous government often received favors from the current administration. The Biden transition team didn’t have to take any action, and it would have taken deliberate action to revoke the granted benefit.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Heritage’s Oversight Project collected information from the Department of Homeland Security, which the couple, Bars and Short, have submitted with redactions. Bars and Short asked for parental leave from their jobs at DHS through email. It has been confirmed that Short, the pregnant mother, qualifies for the full 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. They received a four-page paper from DHS personnel officer Wayne D. Smith, which they deemed contradictory to their position.

Smith said the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2021 was to blame for terminating the couple’s leave benefits on January 5, 2021.