Lakewood plans to change paid parental and maternity leave benefits

LAKEWOOD, Ohio — The city council is currently considering waiving the one-year waiting period to provide paid parental leave and birth leave to newly hired employees who are waiting.

“The change would remove the 12-month employment eligibility requirement for paid parental/birth leave – not just paternity leave,” Lakewood City Council Speaker John Litten said.

“New hires get that right the day they are hired as part of the shift. I suspect that would pass, but we haven’t had a discussion in committee yet.

In favor of change, Lakewood Mayor Meghan George said her reasoning was twofold.

“Certainly like the rest of the country, we face challenges finding and attracting talented employees,” George said. “Obviously part of that is maintaining them, but that’s also part of the big picture of why we’ve adopted this important benefit.

“We need to support families during this crucial time for mothers and newborns. This is part of our overall view of work-life balance.

The mayor said recently that the city has two pregnant women applying for positions and inquiring about the benefit.

“We missed applicants or it was a very difficult decision to have someone come to Lakewood knowing there were no benefits,” George said.

“Also, they don’t have the ability to bank sick days or vacation time, so these people need that time the most. If we are on a mission to promote healthy employees, that is something we definitely need to update.

As for any additional cost to the city, George said the benefit outweighs the face amount.

“So far the cost has been minimal,” said George, who is a new mother. “Most families take off when a child is born, so like everyone else, we just fill in the gaps. It just means everyone’s workload is a bit heavier for a while while the mother is recovering from childbirth, which we still underestimate in this country.

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