Chicago, IL

Mayor Lightfoot Expands Paid Parental Leave for All City Employees

Lashaunta Moore

All City employees will receive up to twelve weeks of paid parental leave, whether birthing or non-birthing parent.

CHICAGO-- Mayor Lightfoot and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) agreed to provide parents with a more extended parental leave on Friday, Sept. 30. The new policy gives city employees up to twelve (12) weeks of paid parental leave regardless of whether they are the birthing or non-birthing parent.

The expansion will apply to approximately 32,000 employees growing their family by birth, adoption, or foster care, as well as to those acting as surrogates. A press release reveals that employees will receive one hundred percent of their pay for up to the entirety of the 12 weeks.

However, to receive the benefits, they must meet the eligibility requirements. The City employees must be eligible for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which means they worked for the City for at least 12 months before taking leave and worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately preceding the departure. 

Parents worldwide have been fighting for more paid leave even before the pandemic. Mayor Lightfoot said the additional weeks would give parents more time to bond with their new child and that she expects this agreement to have a positive, long-lasting effect on city employees.

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. “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. I call on my colleagues in the private sector to join me in offering this critical benefit, which undeniably builds equity within our workforce.”

The previous policy included up to six weeks of parental leave and has not been revised since 2011.

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