For Immediate Release: February 22, 2018
Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(801) 326-1568 | firstname.lastname@example.org
House Committee Votes to Hold Paid Parental Leave Bill
Salt Lake City - Today the House Business and Labor Committee voted 11 to 1 to hold H.B. 156, “Family Leave Amendments” in the committee. The bill would grant six weeks - or up to 240 hours - of paid parental leave for state employees in the executive branch and state higher education, technical colleges, and board of education employees. Under the bill, employees would be eligible to receive sustained pay during leave after a year of full-time employment. Employees who take the leave would be assured of returning to the same or equivalent position.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Elizabeth Weight said, “Utah cares about family values. We need to enact legislation that upholds those values. Parental is an essential part of the healthy development of a newborn, the well-being of mothers, and the critical involvement of fathers in the raising of children.”
Rep. Weight added, “We recognize the increasing economic value of parental leave for business. It reduces turnover. It attracts the most skilled employees. It increases retention and it dramatically reduces retraining costs. This increases stability in the workplace and increases productivity. The LDS Church, our military, and numerous businesses within the state are already noting the benefits of paid parental leave; it is time that our state employees see that benefit too. We shouldn’t force mothers and fathers to choose between their children and their employment.”
Rep. Susan Duckworth, the only other Democrat on the committee who voted for the bill said, “It’s time we bring our parental leave laws into the 21st century. If you care about children, you support this bill. If you care about families, you support this bill. If you care about good business practices, you support this bill. It’s just that simple.“
Other local Utah employers who have recently adopted paid parental leave provisions include Salt Lake City, the LDS Church, and RioTinto. California was the first state in 2004 to implement partial paid family leave. New Jersey, Rhode Island and New York now also have similar programs. The United States is one of only two countries in the world that doesn’t have a national paid parental leave policy. The other is Papua New Guinea.