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Cincinnati more than doubles paid parental leave for city workers

Gigin Krishnan

City of Cincinnati employees can now take 12 weeks of fully-paid parental leave, more than double the previous policy.

The former policy offered four weeks of leave paid at 70% salary plus two weeks where the employee could either use other accrued leave (like vacation) or go unpaid.

City Manager Sheryl Long announced the change Friday, along with other expansions to the family leave policy. Now, workers can use the leave for fostering or taking legal guardianship of a child.

"Previously, it was only birth and adoptive parents," Long said. "That's ridiculous, right? We as a government, it's very important for us to understand that families are very diverse and different. And we want to make sure that we're a place to encourage that difference."

Long says this was one of her first priorities after being chosen as city manager last September. She says this speaks to the importance of having women in leadership positions.

"For my first child, I had to take two weeks [leave] and then I had to return back to work because I got the notice that hey, you're not going to receive a paycheck after two weeks," she said.

The expansion also adds 20 hours of paid prenatal or pre-adoption leave for appointments, and allows employees on parental leave to get regular holiday pay (which didn't happen in all circumstances under the previous policy).

Mayor Aftab Pureval, who took two weeks of parental leave near the beginning of his term, praised the decision.

“This comprehensive new policy is exactly what doing right by employees looks like,” Pureval said in a statement. “As we compete to attract the best and the brightest to serve our City, strong parental leave and a commitment to supporting workers is a must."

Long says the cost to the city is not significantly more.

"While there'll be a slight increase, there is nothing that is significant enough to make sure that our employees are able to spend time with their families, especially new families, and not have the burden of worrying about the economics," she said.

The new policy applies to all full-time employees and took effect on Jan. 1.

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.