CHICAGO — The city will expand paid parental leave for its employees to 12 weeks, the Mayor’s Office announced Friday.
The new policy takes effect Jan. 1 and applies to both birthing and non-birthing parents, according to a news release.
The city previously gave birthing parents up to four or six weeks of paid leave and non-birthing parents two weeks of paid leave, according to the news release.
The change comes after President Joe Biden pushed for 12 weeks of paid leave for workers, before it was written out of his Build Back Better plan following pushback from Republicans.
The U.S. is the only developed country that does not mandate paid leave for new parents. Britain provides 39 weeks of paid maternity leave. Japan gives 52 weeks and Estonia leads the way with 82 weeks or more, according to The Washington Post.
Chicago employees will receive full pay for all 12 weeks of leave, according to the news release.
The policy applies to city employees regardless of how they are growing their family — by birth, adoption, foster care or as an acting surrogate, according to the news release.
People qualifying for parental leave must have worked for the city for at least 12 months and completed 1,250 hours of work within the last year, according to the news release.
The new policy will apply to 32,000 employees, and Mayor Lightfoot said she’s calling on the city’s private sector to match the benefit.
“The pandemic taught us many important lessons, two of which are that families need help now more than ever, and unpaid care work is a detriment to our labor market,” Lightfoot said in the press release. “Ensuring parents have time to bond with their new child, heal from birth, and receive their wages will have long-lasting positive impacts on our employees and city.”
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