Missoula rescinds pregnancy leave policy, adds parental leave

Martin Kidson

(Missoula Current) Citing the need for competitive employment policies, members of the Missoula city council voted in a committee on Wednesday to repeal the outdated city policy on paid parental leave and replace it with a fairer one. I was.

The old policy was adopted by the city council in 2016 to provide women with pregnancy-related medical leave. It is unclear to current staff why such a policy was put forward to the City Council when such a policy is normally governed by an administrative process and may be revised over time if necessary. I say yes.

By contrast, the new policy will be adopted under an administrative process and will apply to both men and women. It was facilitated by the efforts of City Councilman Mike Nugent and sponsored by the city’s Human Resources Officer, Angela Simonson.

The bill passed the Public Safety, Health and Steering Committee 11-0 with 1 abstention. Council member Kristen Jordan did not vote.

“We are proud that the City of Missoula has taken this step. “Above all, this is right. A good paid parental leave policy improves staff culture, retention and all of the above. New kids and parents at Avery deserve the chance to bond .”

Under the proposed new policy, paid parental leave will be provided at 100% of the employee’s regular salary, and part-time employees will receive a weekly benefit equal to their average weekly wage.

This policy must be used within 6 months of the child’s birth or adoption and cannot be doubled in the case of twins and cannot be split in the middle. Instead, it should be taken continuously.

“That’s something I was grateful for when I had kids a long time ago,” said Jennifer Savage, a member of the council. I think it could have been a game changer for us, something the city can be very proud of.”

The people behind this policy argue that flexibility and family-friendly rules are essential for an evolving workforce. They also said they are looking at equity that past policies have failed to achieve.

Nugent said he’s also been contacted by fathers who were happy with the proposal, as well as same-sex couples. He said he hadn’t.

“I have heard from several city staff members who have had stories of how this has helped them. We are taking the right steps.”

Missoula County adopted a paid parental leave program in 2016 and added it to the county benefits package that year. This paid leave system applies to both men and women after giving birth or adopting a child.

A request from a father of twins who spent time in the neonatal intensive care unit after giving birth led the county to change its policy in 2019. 12 weeks after the child’s birth or adoption.

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