City of St. Paul to Introduce Paid Maternity Leave for Employees

St. Paul is poised to become the second city in Minnesota (after Brooklyn Park) to offer paid maternity leave to city employees.

A resolution that has the unanimous support of the city's seven council members "would provide four weeks paid salary to the birthing employee mother and two weeks paid salary to the non-birthing employee parent or adoptee employee parent," according to a news release put together by the city.

See also:
St. Paul named best romantic city, and Chris Coleman says LRT will only make it lovelier

Tonya Tennessen, spokesman for Mayor Chris Coleman, says the move is all about making the city of St. Paul a more attractive place to work for talented young people.

"We have an aging workforce, and so we're attracting the younger talent by providing benefits that are going to make them choose us," she tells us. "They're going to be the ones to drive innovation and government, and we want them to work for us."

Federal law currently requires all employers to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave for both male and female parents. The new beefed-up maternity leave policy under consideration by St. Paul council members would cost about $200,000 annually.

In the aforementioned news release, city officials cite how families have evolved in recent years as a reason to break from federal policy.

"Families have undergone a dramatic shift in the last 20 years since the federal policy has been updated," the release says. "The shift is due to a number of factors including: changing gender roles, expanding numbers and types of 'non-traditional' families, and an increasing emphasis on work/family balance for both parents."

"The United States as a whole is vastly behind all other industrialized nations in the world in terms of parental leave policies," it continues. "In relation to the city, this is clearly demonstrated when looking at our sister cities and their countries' parental leave policies. All 10 sister cities' employees are eligible for some form of paid parental leave and given at least, and in most cases more than, 12 weeks of paid leave."

Tennessen says the new policy is also motivated by private sector employers like Google that offer paid maternity leave for employees.

"People are seeing this as a really important benefit to offer," she says. "It's a relatively small investment for potentially high impact."

The new policy is expected to receive final approval from council next week. It'll go into effect January 1.

To read the policy for yourself, click to page two.


St. Paul Maternity Leave Policy

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.