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Phoenix is offering 12 weeks of paid parental leave to employees

City officials say providing 480 hours of paid parental leave will help Phoenix become a more competitive employer in the Valley.

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council voted Friday to begin offering 12 weeks of paid parental leave to employees needing to care for a new child. 

Public employees who have been employed with the city for at least one year and have worked 1,250 hours are eligible for the new benefit. 

The benefit can be applied to parents of newborns, foster, or adopted children. If both parents are city employees, they can each qualify for 12 weeks of paid leave, public records show.

The estimated cost of offering this new benefit is projected to be between $2-8 million per year.

City officials say providing this amount of parental leave will help Phoenix become a more competitive employer in the Valley.

"The new, additional leave is extremely flexible to meet varying challenges that arise when a new child comes into the family," said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego in a statement. “This new benefit will help the City stay competitive and able to attract the best employees to serve Phoenix's residents."

As of 2021, about 26% of state and municipal government workers had access to paid parental leave, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 94% of state government workers had access to unpaid family leave.

Ten years ago, only about 17% of the nation's state government workers had access to paid family leave.  

Phoenix's new benefit was passed unanimously by the city council and many members remarked upon how overdue it was for the city to offer this amount of paid parental leave. 

Councilmember Betty Guardado said it's a "national disgrace" to have so many Americans survive without an income while taking care of a young child. 

"Spending time with your new child without losing your income should be a right for all working people in this country," Guardado said. 

Councilmember Yassamin Ansari said the city's new policy is especially fitting at this time now that Roe v. Wade has been recently overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.  

"We need to be doing everything we can in our power to protect Phoenicians' ability to continue to make their own family planning decisions," Ansari said.

Employees can begin utilizing Phoenix's paid parental leave benefits by Oct. 1.

RELATED: City council approves $20k starting salary pay increase for Phoenix officers

RELATED: Paid family leave among key provisions of Biden's downsized $2 trillion plan

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