King County Executive Dow Constantine initially proposed a paid parental leave pilot as a way to support early childhood development by giving parents time to nurture and connect with their little ones. The Paid Parental Leave Program was made an on-going benefit in 2017.
“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,” Executive Constantine said. “It also demonstrates our commitment to recruiting and retaining the talented workforce we need to deliver the best outcomes for our community.”
Michelle Allison, Metro Transit’s Chief of Staff, benefited from the 12-week-leave program. It allowed her to bond with her adopted daughter, who at the time was 18 months. “It was an incredibly easy, fulfilling, and valued experience. I can’t say enough about the ease of mind. Becoming a first-time parent is overwhelming, you have lots of things you are thinking about, but leave at work shouldn’t be one of them, and this took that concern off the table. It allowed me to focus on my family, my daughter and myself.”
Paid Parental Leave is another way that King County is investing in its employees and delivering better outcomes for customers through a highly engaged workforce.
“The cumulative impacts are known both through data and personal experiences that when families have access to paid parental or family leave in general as a broader topic, it allows the employee to have a better experience outside of their work so when they come to work, they’re more focused and refreshed,” Michelle said.
Also new to the parenting scene is Labor Relations Negotiator Andre Chevalier, dad to baby Jack.
“I am incredibly appreciative and thankful to my work colleagues that are picking up the slack while I’m out on leave and to my management team that has been 100% supportive of my daddy leave. Thankfully, my singular focus was on being there for my family and appreciating the depth and meaningfulness of the experience.”
Paid Parental Leave is a great benefit for new and tenured employee-parents because it alleviates some of the burden that comes with being a first-time parent or adding a new family member.
These days, Andre finds himself with his hands full. “I am able to tap in and change those non-stop poopy diapers and let my wife catch up on sleep,” he said.
From January 1 through December 31, 2016, 153 male employees and 88 female employees took time off for a birth, adoption or foster-to-adopt placement as part of the pilot. The 12-week leave program was made an on-going benefit January 1, 2017.
“I am proud to work for an organization that is willing to be a progressive leader on this important issue,” Andre said.
King County wishes all parents on leave a joyous time with their loved ones!
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