The White House described the plans — the latest in a series that have been proposed in the days leading up to the president's State of the Union address on Jan. 20 — as part of Mr. Obama's focus on improving the lives of middle-class Americans.
"The truth is, the success and productivity of our workers is inextricably tied to their ability to care for their families and maintain a stable life at home," Valerie Jarrett, the president's senior adviser, wrote Wednesday in a posting on the employment network LinkedIn, where the White House shared the first details of the proposal.
"The president intends to ensure that the federal government is a model employer," Ms. Jarrett wrote. "We'll have the most skilled and productive work force possible as a result."
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They are likely to face an uphill battle in Congress, where Republicans are focused on reining in spending and have opposed Mr. Obama's proposals to increase pay and benefits, arguing that it is not the government's role to issue such mandates.
More than half of American workers are eligible for parental or sick leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows them to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid time off without losing their jobs. But employers are not required to pay their workers during leave, and often do not.
The plan, which Mr. Obama will include in his budget, would provide $2.2 billion in mandatory funding — not subject to annual congressional appropriations — to reimburse states that initiate paid leave programs, the White House said. The president will also request $35 million in grants to assist states working toward creating such programs.