Kentucky state employees would gain parental leave under bill approved by Senate

Kentucky Lantern

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FRANKFORT — State employees could take up to four weeks of paid parental leave under a bill that the Kentucky Senate approved 28-10 on Tuesday. 

Senate Bill 142 would entitle state government workers who’ve held their jobs for at least a year to take up to four weeks of paid leave after birth, surrogacy or adoption. State employees would also be able to take two weeks of paid parental leave for a foster care or kinship care placement. 

Sen. Amanda Mays Bledsoe, the sponsor, called the measure “a step in the right direction” and said it would spare would-be parents from having to hoard sick days and vacation time in order to prepare for the arrival of a child.

The Lexington Republican recalled that when she was a member of Lexington’s council she saw how “incredible young professionals … saved sick time over several years … in order to have a way to pay for the first weeks home with a new baby.”

Bledsoe said employees she knew in Lexington would even go as far as “working when they were sick,” to prevent using a sick day so they could save it for future leave.

According to the nonprofit A Better Balance, Kentucky neighbors Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, and Missouri have paid parental leave policies in place for state employees. Federal employees can take up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave. 

A Better Balance also found that when people have access to paid parental leave, they are less likely to rely on public assistance programs. 

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