The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday unanimously approved an ordinance to provide paid parental leave to city employees through June 30, 2025.
The ordinance, which gives all city employees, regardless of gender, up to six weeks of 100% paid time off for pregnancy disability or to bond with a new child, is subject to the approval of Mayor Eric Garcetti, who has already expressed support.
The ordinance also includes six weeks paid time off for employees who adopt or have long-term placement of a foster child.
“We’ve got to stop continuing to punish women for having children and wanting to be caregivers and taking care of their loved ones,” Council President Nury Martinez said.
“There is an unsaid assumption that women will work through maternity leave, and we’re expected to give birth and get back to work right away and that’s just absolutely ridiculous and if we want to be able to promote women in the workplace in the city of L.A., if we want more women leading departments, if we want more women making sure they’re driving some of these policies that are fair and equitable than we need to recognize the importance of this policy,” Martinez said.
The city currently gives employees up to 18 weeks off — unpaid or paid using sick or vacation time — for family or medical purposes, including childbirth recovery and child bonding.
The chief administrative officer found that the new policy of giving six weeks paid parental leave to employees was not expected to have any significant budgetary impact on the city.
Councilman Paul Krekorian said the ordinance “will set a good example for the rest of the community of employers about what should be expected by their employees to be able to have a good career, maintain that career, stay in their jobs while still supporting their bonding with their children and building stronger families.”
The effort has been in the works since September 2015, when Krekorian and Martinez introduced a motion to have the chief legislative analyst and city administrative officer draft a report on the subject.
In October 2019, Garcetti unveiled a proposal to offer paid parental leave to city employees.
“Family is everything, and parents shouldn’t have to rely only on sick or vacation days when it’s time to bond with their children,” Garcetti said when he announced the proposal at the third annual State of Women and Girls Address and Expo.
“We look at everything we do through a gender-equity lens, and paid parental leave will empower women in the workplace, help moms and dads care for their kids and support city workers in a way that helps them better serve the public,” he said.
After the ordinance was approved Wednesday, a light applause could be heard in the background.
Martinez said, “All the women in the council chambers are applauding, by the way members.”
Krekorian responded, “So are the dads, by the way.”