Fort Wayne City Council puts plan for paid parental leave on hold

Mayor Tom Henry’s plan to provide paid parental leave for the city’s 1,800 employees was placed on indefinite hold Tuesday after City Council members suggested it should be considered during the normal budgeting process.

Henry announced the proposal in June, saying it would help the city attract and keep good employees and boost Fort Wayne’s reputation as a “great place to raise a family.” As proposed the benefit would have applied only to non-union workers, but Henry said it could be extended to unionized public-safety workers through the collective bargaining process, which would have increased the annual expense to about $100,000, he said.

Under the proposal, birth and adoptive parents, male and female, would be eligible for paid parental leave of up to 120 hours, which would have to be taken within the first 12 weeks following the birth or adoption. Currently, the city only offers leave to birth mothers through short-term disability, which begins a week after birth and continues for five weeks. Under the new policy employees also would need to meet the eligibility standards for leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Gov. Eric Holcomb in December granted up to 150 hours of paid parental leave to state executive branch workers.

City Council normally reviews the budget for the following year in the fall, but there was no immediate word on when — if ever — the policy will be reconsidered.