At the request of assemblyman Jay Burnham, assembly members discussed giving paid leave to municipal employees, and agreed to send the issue to the Civic Affairs Committee for further discussion.
The municipality currently provides 12 to 18 weeks off for family medical care or maternity and paternity leave, but the time away is not paid. Under the proposed resolution, paid family leave would be available for mothers and fathers of a newborn baby or those needing to take care of a sick family member, and is available for up to 30 working days for a maximum of 240 hours, with the approval of their supervisor.
“I wouldn’t really want to not help someone who actually needed it,” Burnham said. “We help out other charities, so I would think that our own employees would be someone to help.”
Though the resolution was seen favorably, assembly members saw possible issues and asked for clarification.
“I understand 12 weeks or 18 weeks where you won’t lose your job, but up to six weeks paid and you just got back from an extended vacation and you have no accrued leave or sick time left, and you can be paid for six weeks and not be in the hole?” Assemblyman Tim Cochran said.
Burnham said yes, if it’s to take care of a sick family member.
Mayor Mark Schaefer said it might cost more money to cover the absent employee’s work, but Burnham said the salary is already allotted for in the budget and current employees would cover most of the excess work.
Borough clerk Emily Deach said after checking with other municipalities, there are none that give paid leave. The most similar situation she could find was in Austin, TX.
“Paying for some of that, but not all of that, is saying to your employees, whether they’re male or female, that we want you to enjoy living here and working for us and we recognize that if your family is happy, you’ll do a better job here. We shouldn’t forget that,” Assemblyman Steve Burnham Jr. said.