COLUMBUS — The City of Dayton added to its list of firsts with Mayor Nan Whaley’s announcement that the city will be implementing a paid parental leave policy. Doing so means that Dayton is the first major Ohio city to provide access to paid leave for new parents as a result of a birth or adoption.
“Access to paid parental leave strengthens women and families, as well as our workforce and our economy,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “The benefits of paid parental leave also contribute to the betterment of our community by helping to increase immunization rates and decrease infant mortality among newborn babies.”
The Family Medical Leave Act provides some basic protections for working parents, including the ability to take an unpaid leave after the birth of a child and job protection to safely return to work once the leave is over.
However, as many Fortune 500 companies have learned, providing just the basic protections of the FMLA isn’t enough to establish the strongest possible workforce.
“With today’s announcement of Dayton’s first-ever paid parental leave policy, the city aligns itself with many thriving private-sector companies such as Microsoft and Netflix that just this month announced similar policies,” said Innovation Ohio President Keary McCarthy. “Top companies are providing paid parental leave because they know that doing so improves employee retention, job satisfaction, productivity and it helps attract top talent.”
Earlier this year, Innovation Ohio conducted an analysis of the benefits of paid parental leave at the request of Columbus City Council Candidate Liz Brown.
At the press conference today she said: “Women should not have to chose between a paycheck and critical postnatal care for their newborn. Nationally, women constitute a growing share of the workforce and the ability to keep working should not be undercut by policies based on a mid-20th-century economic model of one, male breadwinner per family.”
Under the policy announced today, Dayton City employees will now be eligible for up to six additional weeks of paid time off after the birth or adoption of a new child. This is in addition to existing leave policies that allow employees to use accrued sick or vacation time.
“As a result of the policy, employees will be able to spend more time caring for and bonding with new family members, time which has been shown to have numerous benefits for child and maternal health, gender equity and the local economy,” said Mayor Whaley.
The announcement marks National Women’s Equality Day, which was established in 1971 to recognize the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. The observance of Aug. 26 each year also recognizes women’s continuing efforts towards full equality.