SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Jan. 5, 2017 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City will provide six weeks of paid parental leave to all full-time employees, extending to birth mothers, fathers, and to those who become parents through adoption or by foster care, Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced Thursday.
The expanded policy, which went into effect New Year’s Day, may be used concurrently with 12 weeks of job security offered through the Federal and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), said a news release from the Mayor’s Office.
With this action, Salt Lake City joins a handful of cities across the country in recognizing this benefit including Portland, Oregon and King County, Washington, the news release said. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not offer paid parental leave, the release added.
“In Salt Lake City, we support how families form and grow,” Biskupski said, in the prepared statement. “This is concrete policy that will strengthen and benefit our city.”
CNN reports, along with numerous studies, provide overwhelming support that paid parental leave results in healthier outcomes for employees and their families. Examples include a reduction in infant mortality, reduced rates of postpartum depression, and additional time spent for care, recovery from childbirth, and bonding time.
“For years, extensive research has shown employee retention and workers’ morale increases with work-life balance benefits like paid parental leave,” said Julio García, Salt Lake City human resources director.
“I’ve been tasked by the mayor to update and create new HR policies that reflect our diverse workforce. Paid parental leave is still a rarity in many U.S. cities, and I’m happy to support policy that leads in this way.”
In 2016, state representative Angela Romero, who represents Salt Lake City’s west side, sponsored HB188, which would have established a paid parental leave policy for state employees. The bill was ultimately held in the House Business and Labor Committee and saw no action.
“I am proud that Salt Lake City continues to be an example of progress,” Biskupski said. “It is my hope our leadership will propel other cities in our state to act and live up to our shared values by expanding parental leave to all families.”