The Los Angeles City Council is expected in the coming weeks to study whether it would be possible to offer city employees who are new parents more paid bonding time with their children.
Pointing to private-sector companies such as Netflix and Microsoft that have announced enhanced family leave benefits in recent months, a half-dozen council members have asked staffers to report back on the “feasibility and budgetary impacts of offering city employees four weeks paid parental leave for bonding purposes.”
Councilman Paul Krekorian, who co-authored the motion, said a large number of city workers will be retiring in the next 10 years, at which time “Los Angeles will have to compete with private industry perks and salaries to attract the most talented and skilled employees in the workforce.”
While the United States has fallen behind other countries on policies around family leave benefits, the “private sector has stepped up to offer benefits that meet the evolving needs of the modern American family,” he said.
The motion will initially be discussed in the council’s Personnel and Animal Welfare Committee.
The city currently already offers 18 weeks, or about four months, of leave for parents to bond with their children. That’s six weeks longer than is required under the California Family Rights Act, which mandates that employers offer up to 12 work weeks of unpaid, parental bonding time within a 12-month period, city analyst Carolyn Cooper said.
To get compensated for those hours, city employees can use a mixture of accrued paid vacation and sick leave hours, according to Cooper.
Netflix last month announced to widespread praise that it will offer up to a year’s worth of paid parental leave hours, though it’s unclear how many employees will receive the benefits.
The benefits appear to be available to salaried employees and not to hundreds of lower-paid hourly workers at the company’s distribution centers, NPR reported.
In the wake of the Netflix announcement, Microsoft said it will offer an additional eight weeks of paid time off for new mothers and their partners, bringing the amount of time off to 20 weeks for mothers, and to 12 weeks for their partners.
— Wire reports
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