Photo via Pixabay.
Photo via Pixabay.

The Los Angeles City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee recommended Monday that the city look into providing city employees who are new parents with four weeks of paid leave to bond with their children.

City employees currently have four months of unpaid leave to bond with their children. In order to get paid during that time, some employees use a mixture of accrued paid vacation and sick leave hours, according to city officials.

Employee representatives and city workers told the panel Monday that some workers face resistance from supervisors when trying to use sick leave hours to get compensated for parental bonding time, while newer employees may not have enough paid sick leave accrued to cover parental leave.

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who chairs the committee, put in the initial request for the study last September. He said Monday that Los Angeles “should catch up with the rest of the world.”

Employers in European countries like France, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain, as well as other major nations like China, Mexico and Russia, already provide some form of paid parental leave, according to Krekorian.

In the United States, private employers like Wal-Mart, Ernst & Young, Bank of America and many tech companies have also started to offer “some measure of paid parental leave,” he said.

“And these are companies that we’re … competing against for the best and the brightest potential employees that we want to bring into city employment,” Krekorian said.

He added that other municipal employers such as Seattle, San Francisco and Chicago are also starting to look into paid parental time off.

The Budget and Finance Committee backed Krekorian’s motion, which still need to be considered by the full council, to direct the City Administrative Officer and the Chief Legislative Analyst to report back on the “feasibility and budgetary impact” of offering four weeks of paid parental time for bonding purposes.

The panel also recommended that city officials report back on the average amount of time city workers take off for pregnancy and bonding purposes, and the “costs and consequences” of employees potentially getting lured away from the city due to better benefits elsewhere.

Krekorian introduced his motion last year after companies like Netflix and Microsoft annoumced they were going to begin providing enhanced family leave benefits.

Netflix executives planned to offer up to a year’s worth of paid parental leave hours, reportedly to salaried employees but not to hundreds of lower-paid hourly workers at the company’s distribution centers.

In the wake of the Netflix announcement, Microsoft said it would 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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