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Austin May Become First Texas City With Paid Parental Leave

Andrea Grimes

Texas' capital city may be the first in the state to offer paid parental leave to city employees.

On a day when the biggest baby-related news coming out of Austin, Texas, could have been vegan, breastmilk-inspired lollipops, many will undoubtedly be relieved to hear that the capital city may be the first in the state to offer paid parental leave to city employees.

According to the Austin American-Statesman:

A proposal from Council Member Bill Spelman would allow most of the city’s 12,000 employees — including same-sex partners — to take 30 days of paid time off at their full salaries after the birth or adoption of a child. The change would cost the city an estimated $321,000 a year.

Spelman told the daily paper that paid parental leave is good for bottom lines, whether that’s at a private company or a public entity like the City of Austin: “It’s easier to recruit and retain employees, and when they come back to work, they are more productive because they are not worrying that they should have spent more time with their children.”

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Right-wing groups decried the proposal, saying the city couldn’t afford the expense. “When you start offering this kind of highly lucrative superbenefit to all employees, that’s expensive for the taxpayer,” said Tea Partier Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, referring to a parent’s ability to spend time with a new child without losing a job or income.

This is in keeping with the philosophy of many Texas Tea Partiers, who support measures forcing pregnant Texans to carry to term, but not efforts to offer greater public support for children and families.

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