A new bill in the Ohio Senate, Senate Bill 360, aims to increase paid parental leave for state employees.
State Senator Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) introduced the bill, which would extend paid parental leave for state employees from 6 weeks to 12 weeks for parents of newborn or adopted children. This bill would also eliminate the two-week waiting period required prior to accessing paid parental leave.
“I want parents to have the opportunity to do what I did—spend time with their newly born children! Today, we took action that will hopefully start a trend—even in the private sector—by introducing legislation to give state employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave,” Gaverone said in an announcement on Facebook.
Current state law, which Gavarone says has not been updated for nearly 25 years, allows state employees paid parental leave after a two-week waiting period followed by four weeks at reduced pay.
“My hope is that this legislation will not only provide a strong start for growing families but also set a standard for others to address the needs of new parents working for their organization,” Gavarone said in the press release. “The hard-working men and women serving the state of Ohio should be afforded the opportunity to serve their own family as well.”
On September 30, Governor Mike DeWine announced an initiative to make Ohio the best place in the nation to have a baby and raise a family.
Governor DeWine said in a press release that his office would work with the Ohio General Assembly to make these provisions for state employees allowing families to create a strong start and reduce financial burdens.
“Supporting Ohio’s families now will help children thrive as adults and continue leading our great state to an even brighter future,” Governor DeWine said in the September press release.
Some parents are speaking out, saying that this bill should encompass all employed parents, not just state-employed.
“Would be nice for everyone, not just state employees but “baby” steps I suppose, “Amanda Jo Sealock, a working mother, commented in a rebuttal to Gavarone’s Facebook announcement about the bill.
“I think everyone should have access to 12 weeks. I don’t think it’s fair. I think it should be statewide. In fact, I think everyone should adopt the federal policy,” Elizabeth Krezczowski, a working pregnant mother, told The Star.
Another concern held by Ohioans is where the money is coming from to pay for this extra leave. The Ohio Star reached out to Gavarone for comment but did not receive one.
Bill 360 was introduced into the Ohio Senate on October 3 and is waiting to be assigned to a committee.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]|
Photo “Work-at-Home Mom” by Jep Gambardella.