March 6, 2021

Trump aides made a late request to Team Biden to extend their parental leave. They said no.

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.”

Ambrosini is among a number of ex-Trump political officials who 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, emails reviewed by POLITICO show, the Biden transition did not grant.

The Biden White House declined to speak about the issue on record. 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 official blamed the fact that the Trump administration dragged its heels on a quick and orderly transition as a reason why some on his team were caught off guard by the benefits ending.

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