King County Executive Dow Constantine’s proposal for up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave was approved by the County Council on December 7, putting King County at the forefront of the national movement to expand paid parental leave.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2016, County employees will be allowed to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave when welcoming a new family member through birth, adoption, or foster-to-adopt placement.
“I’m proud that King County is among the leading employers in the nation to offer a program that has a positive, lifelong impact on a child’s development,” said Executive Constantine. “It also demonstrates our commitment to recruiting and retaining the talented workforce we need to deliver the best outcomes for our community.”
King County joins a few other major employers in the region – including Microsoft, Amazon, the Gates Foundation and the City of Seattle – to begin offering paid-parental leave to attract high-caliber talent.
“Parental leave brings us one step closer to our goal of becoming the best-run government, by helping us recruit and retain the best employees – a creative, 21st-century workforce,” Executive Constantine said. “As only the second public employer in the state – and one of only about a dozen across the country – to offer this type of program, we will demonstrate our commitment to competing for the strongest available talent.”
This supplemental benefit will be available to both new mothers and fathers. An employee’s supplemental leave benefit will be calculated based on the employee’s existing leave accruals at the time of the qualifying event, while permitting the employee to reserve one week of sick leave and one week of vacation leave.
The Metropolitan King County Council voted 8-0 to create a one-year pilot program, which will start Jan. 1, 2016. Going forward, the program will need to be negotiated with the unions that represent King County employees as part of a comprehensive, sustainable total compensation package.
Watch Executive Constantine discuss the plan on KING-5 morning news here.