Under an executive order signed by Governor Eric Holcomb last December, 30,000 executive branch employees around Indiana were given four weeks of paid family leave, as long as the employee has worked for the state for six months.
Now, Mayor Tom Henry has followed suit, unveiling his plan to provide non-union Fort Wayne city employees more time to spend with their families if needed.
Under the plan, birth and adoptive parents are eligible for 120 hours of paid family leave, to be taken within the first 12 weeks of a birth or adoption.
Joe Giant is a staffer in Fort Wayne’s redevelopment department. He and his wife Kristen are expecting their second child on September 1, and says family leave would have made their lives much easier.
“I essentially brought our child home and went right back into the office,” Giant said. “Emotionally, that was… difficult, but practically speaking the most difficult thing was I had no time for doctor’s appointments, time that I might be sick or Kristen might be sick, to give her a break and time for anything to come up.”
The city also says more chances for parents to interact with their new child could help decrease Allen County’s infant mortality rate, which is one of the highest in the state.
Henry estimates the program would cost the city no more than $100,000 if applied to all employees. This proposal must be approved by City Council.