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Minneapolis approves 12 weeks of paid parental leave for city employees

WCCO digital update: Afternoon of Aug. 18, 2022
WCCO digital update: Afternoon of Aug. 18, 2022 01:03

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minneapolis City Council on Thursday approved 12-weeks of paid parental leave for city employees, quadrupling the amount of time off under the previous policy.  

Paid parental leave will increase from three weeks to 12 weeks after the birth or adoption of a child, in an effort to recruit and retain employees. 

Mayor Jacob Frey supported the resolution, saying "there is a far bigger loss when an employee goes to work elsewhere because they can't have a baby when working for the City of Minneapolis."

During the council meeting on Thursday, two members gave powerful testimony with their experience under the previous policy. 

Robin Wonsley, who is in her first term representing Ward 2, told the city council that she had started her term pregnant, but experienced a miscarriage shortly after. 

"I remember when I just started the term, knowing that I was pregnant, and meeting with our HR rep, and asking about, 'this is my first year, how am I going to make time, what is the policy around leave,' and basically being told that there was not one," Wonsley said. "And that anxiety I faced about not being able to balance this new job, this new work that I love, with also starting a family, was very anxiety-inducing."

Wonsley added that she was grateful that city employees would not have to experience that same anxiety under the new plan.

Council Member Elliott Payne also described his experience, saying "I wonder if we had stronger support for family planning, would me and my wife be in a different place, if we were able to try earlier in life?"

The new policy will also retroactively cover city employees who had or adopted a child within 12 weeks of the policy's effective date.

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