I wrote Mayor Kate Stewart and her City Council colleagues, advocating a City of Takoma Park paid family leave benefit. Here’s the text I sent today:
I am writing to ask the City of Takoma Park to implement a paid family leave benefit for city employees. While employees can already use sick leave and short-term disability to cover parental time off, this allowance falls short of a clear stance in support of an important social policy, one that has significant equity implications.
I wrote the council on this topic in October 2016 and had previously discussed it with the city manager and then-HR director in early 2015. In the time since, other jurisdictions have advanced paid family leave policies. The Council of the District of Columbia enacted the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016 in December 2016. Per the page https://does.dc.gov/page/dc-paid-family-leave, “The District of Columbia is implementing paid family leave so you don’t have to choose between caring for yourself or your loved ones and your job security… On July 1, 2020, the District will begin administering paid leave benefits.” Even the federal government is considering paid family leave for federal employees (https://www.govexec.com/pay-benefits/2019/10/advocates-congress-very-close-passing-paid-family-leave-feds/160537/).
Offering a paid family leave benefit is the right thing to do. There are a variety of mechanisms the city might consider. The cost to the city does not have to be high. I urge you to direct the city manager to explore and report on options with the goal of timely implementation.