City Council OKs parental leave policy

When City Council tabled action on a parental-leave policy for municipal employees in July, members said the proposal should be considered as part of the normal budgeting process.

With $66,000 earmarked for the program included in Mayor Tom Henry’s proposed 2019 budget, the policy was back on council’s agenda Tuesday — and passed by a preliminary vote of 8-1, with final approval possible next week.

Under the proposal, male and female parents would be eligible for paid 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. Henry, who initially estimated the program would cost the city about $100,000 annually, said the benefit would help the city attract and keep good employees.

Although the 2019 budget has reduced that amount, the $66,000 also includes the cost of covering public-safety employees who are not currently included because such benefits must be negotiated as part of the contract process.


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