Senate Panel Approves Paid Parental Leave for State Workers

Senate Panel Approves Paid Parental Leave for State Workers

By: U.S. News and World Report

A Georgia Senate committee is supporting a plan to give three weeks of paid parental leave to state workers, teachers and university employees.

The Senate Insurance and Labor Committee unanimously voted for House Bill 146 on Tuesday, sending it to the Senate for possible final passage.

Nearly 250,000 workers could be eligible for the leave after the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.

“It’s going to help young families throughout our state,” the bill’s sponsor, Republican Rep. Houston Gaines of Athens, told the Senate panel. He said private employers and the federal government are already offering the benefit.

House Speaker David Ralston, a Blue Ridge Republican, has made the measure one of his priorities. A similar bill nearly passed last year but failed on the last day of the session in the Senate.

Currently, state employees in Georgia are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave as required by federal law.

Both mothers and fathers could use the leave. An employee would qualify after six months of continuous employment with a government agency, college or school. The measure does not cover leave to care for sick family members or to take care of personal medical problems. It also does not cover nongovernmental employers.