Ordinance to establish first-ever paid parental leave for eligible city employees announced
March 23, 2015
Mayor Walsh today announced that Councilors Michelle Wu and Tim McCarthy filed an Ordinance to create the City of Boston's first-ever Paid Parental Leave policy. The City Council will assign the Ordinance to a committee, where a hearing process precedes a vote on the matter. The Mayor will sign the Ordinance should the Council pass it.
The Councilors' Ordinance contains the Mayor's policy of granting up to six weeks of Paid Parental Leave to both men and women, as well as same-sex couples, who have worked for the City for at least one year.
“When we work together, there aren’t many limitations on what we can do to make improvements in local government,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “It is important for parents to be engaged in a child’s early life. I am thankful that Councilors Wu and McCarthy are supportive of this initiative, to grant parents who devote their lives to public service the hard-earned support they deserve. My office is proud to support and introduce policies that advance both men and women in the workplace and all aspects of city life. It is my hope that businesses will consider taking the same action steps to ensure families are thriving and healthy.”
"As a new working mom, I am especially proud to partner with Mayor Walsh and my colleagues to ensure that Boston continues to lead on access to economic opportunity for working families,” said Councilor Wu. “This ordinance will help alleviate some pressure on working parents who have to make tough choices every day to do the best they can for their families. Access to paid parental leave will be good for the City, for parents, and most of all, for kids."
"As a father of two, the bonding period between parents and a newborn is so important, and so is the bonding and support needed to strengthen the parents' relationship during a happy but stressful time,” said Councilor MCCarthy. “This is the right ordinance for Boston and its families."
Once adopted, the policy will help eligible City of Boston employees overcome a glaring deficiency in American family leave policies. Presently, the United States joins the countries of Oman and Papa New Guinea as three nations that lack a paid parental leave policy.
Approximately 178 countries offer a form of maternity leave, with over 50 countries offering leave to fathers, as well.
Previous parental leave policies, such as the Family and Medical Leave Act and Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, have focused on protecting parents' jobs during unpaid leave. The lack of income during periods of parental leave is a factor in the wage gap experienced by many women, and forces employees to return to work sooner than their
particular family may really need with their newborn or newly adopted child.
Mayor Walsh is proud to work with the Councilors to adopt a Paid Parental Leave policy that features some of these specifics:
- Up to 6 weeks of Paid Parental Leave to be taken by day or week any time during the first year after the birth or adoption of the child or children.
- Applies to all exempt employees, both male and female, who have worked for the City for a minimum of one year, including same-sex couples, and employees covered by collective bargaining agreements whose agreements explicitly provide for this benefit.
- Applies for each instance of eligible employees' birth of newborns,adoption, surrogacy or other methods, and stillbirths.
- Pay shall be structured as follows: 100-percent for the first 2 weeks; 75-percent for weeks 3 and 4; and 50-percent for weeks 5 and 6.
- This new Paid Parental Leave cannot be added to periods of unpaid, job-protected leave and, therefore, runs concurrently.
As a State Representative, Mayor Walsh was the lead sponsor of the legislation that goes into effect on April 7, 2015 to update the former Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act of 1972, renaming it the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act and codifying that it would be available for men, women, as well as male same-sex couples for the first time. Mayor Walsh is proud to work with Councilors Wu and McCarthy to build on that progress with this Paid Parental Leave policy.