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Local News

Shapiro administration expands paid parental leave for commonwealth employees

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Kim Lyons, Pennsylvania Capital-Star
February 15, 2024

Gov. Josh Shapiro’s administration announced Thursday that it is increasing the amount of paid parental leave for employees of the commonwealth, from six weeks to eight, and expanding the State Employee Assistance Program to provide additional benefits.

“We want to provide our dedicated Commonwealth employees with the resources and support they need at home so they can do their best work on the job to serve the good people of Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said in a statement. “Whether it is welcoming a new addition to the family, caring for an aging parent, or simply finding a reliable mechanic to repair their vehicle so they can go to work, these new benefits are here for our employees when they need them and underscore our Administration’s commitment to their wellbeing and their families.”

He added that parents shouldn’t have to decide between bonding with family or receiving a paycheck, noting that he’s a father of four. “I know those first moments spent together with loved ones are special and among the most important times in a family’s life,” Shapiro said.

Beginning today, eligible employees can take up to eight weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child, within six months of the qualifying event. Either parent can take the leave, which will count toward their family and medical leave entitlement, according to the governor’s office.

Office of Administration Secretary Neil Weaver said there are some 1,900 births, adoptions and foster care placements among state workers every year. Expanding paid parental leave helps bolster the commonwealth’s hiring, recruitment and retention efforts, Weaver added.

Under the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act, federal workers are granted 12 weeks of paid family leave, and 11 states have passed paid family and medical leave laws. Only 27% of workers in the private sector have access to paid family leave, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pennsylvania does not have a paid family and medical leave law, but House Democrats have pushed legislation to create one.

In addition to expanding employees’ paid family leave, the Shapiro administration said Thursday it is expanding the support services it provides to employees through its employee assistance program, which now includes allowing employees to seek services of a care manager to help employees who are responsible for the care of a loved one develop a care plan.

Pennsylvania Capital-Star is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Pennsylvania Capital-Star maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kim Lyons for questions: info@penncapital-star.com. Follow Pennsylvania Capital-Star on Facebook and Twitter.

This article is republished from Pennsylvania Capital-Star under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.