City Council poised to approve paid parental leave policy

The City Council’s Ways & Means Committee has signed off on a new paid parental leave policy for City of Minneapolis employees.

The full Council will vote on the policy Friday, May 1.

It allows city employees to take up to three weeks (120 hours) of paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child. Eligible employees are defined as the biological parent of the child, an adoptive parent or spouse of the biological or adoptive parent.

The projected cost of providing one full-time employee a three-week leave is about $5,500, according to city staff. In 2014, the city had about 90 maternity claims, and in 2013 and 2014, there were five requests for leaves related to the adoption of a child. 

 The city has 3,600 full-time regular and full-time seasonal employees.

Employees covered by the policy, which is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015, must be eligible to accrue sick leave and have no disciplinary actions in the previous two years related to the misuse of sick leave.

City Council members applauded the policy at the Ways & Means Committee Monday.

City Council Member Blong Yang (Ward 5) said he’d like to see longer parental leaves in the future.

“Three weeks is a good start for us,” he said.

City Council Member John Quincy (Ward 11) said the policy will help recruit and retain talented workers.

The United States is the only high-income country and only one of eight countries in the world that does not mandate paid leave for mothers of newborn children, according to a city staff report.

The City of St. Paul and the City of Brooklyn Park also recently adopted paid parental policies.

At the state level, a coalition called Minnesotans for Paid Family Leave has lobbied state legislators to allow workers in the state the chance to take a paid leave to care for loved ones.

Rep. Ryan Winkler (DFL-Golden Valley) and Sen. Katie Sieben (DFL-Cottage Grove) have introduced legislation that would allow Minnesota employees the opportunity to take a paid leave with a percentage of their wages up to six weeks to care for family members.