Montgomery County Commissioners expand paid parental leave for county employees

The Montgomery County Commissioners today announced an enhanced Paid Parental Leave Policy for County employees that expands the benefit to up to 16 weeks.

The change, which doubles the existing paid parental leave period, is for full-time employees who have worked with the County for at least six months. For most employees, 12 weeks of parental leave will be paid at 100% of an employee’s base wage and all deductions and benefits will continue. Four additional weeks may be available to those with serious medical complications. 

 “Supporting working families in Montgomery County has been a priority for us, and this enhanced policy reflects our commitment to helping families thrive both in work and at home. We want to set a standard; to our knowledge, we are the first county in the Commonwealth to offer a minimum of 12 weeks of paid parental leave,” said Jamila H. Winder, Chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners. “Adding a new family member to a household marks a major milestone in anyone’s life; I’ve gone through it myself as mom to my three-year-old son. So, offering new parents this opportunity to bond and settle into their new family routine is just one way we can help make that life transition easier.” 

The Paid Parental leave policy applies to births, adoptions, surrogacy, foster care placement, or legal guardianship. If both parents work with the County, they will each be eligible for the paid benefit separately. The entitlement does not need to be used in a single block and can be used intermittently. Current employees will be eligible immediately. 

“By offering up to 16 weeks of paid leave to our County employees, we’re setting the standard in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, that we hope others will follow,” said Neil Makhija, Montgomery County Commissioner. “Paid leave policy became a pillar of my campaign, because it is good for everyone: it’s pro-worker, pro-family, and pro-economy. I can say from my previous experience as a nonprofit executive director that instituting a paid family leave policy serves the well-being of employees but also serves as a strategic investment in retention and recruitment. Today, Montgomery County more than doubles our paid leave offering and takes one more step in becoming the best employer in the region.”

According to a study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 28% of state and local governments offered paid parental leave to their employees in 2023. In Pennsylvania, Montgomery County will now lead the way in paid parental leave, followed by the Commonwealth (8 weeks), Allegheny County (6 weeks), Pittsburgh (6 weeks), and Philadelphia (6 weeks).

“Working families should not have to stress about whether they can afford to take time to recover from birth or introduce a new child to the family,” said Thomas DiBello, Montgomery County Commissioner. “We are making sure that Montgomery County employees are being taken care of during a time of significant change, and our employees can return to their important roles of serving the residents of Montgomery County. In short, this policy is pro-family.”

“We applaud Montgomery County for leading the way with a gender-neutral paid family leave policy that ensures all parents can be there to bond with their children. We hope other counties—in Pennsylvania and across the country—will follow suit by offering paid leave for all of their employees,” said Reshma Saujani, founder and CEO of the national nonprofit Moms First.

The enhanced Parental Leave Policy is part of a robust benefits package offered to full-time Montgomery County employees, which includes a choice of comprehensive health and dental insurance policies, pension and retirement savings, flexible spending accounts, life insurance, tuition benefits, plus hybrid remote options for some positions. Represented employees will have the benefit negotiated into their contracts by their respective unions. 

“Montgomery County should be commended for its leadership in prioritizing the expansion of its parental leave which will serve as a tremendous tool for retaining and recruiting talented County workers,” said Dan O’Brien, policy manager of education and family stability for Children First. “Now it’s time for Harrisburg to follow Montgomery County’s leadership and pass a statewide paid leave program to ensure the 3.5 million workers across Pennsylvania who still lack access to paid leave can also take care of their family at a critical time without having to sacrifice their financial stability.”

Theodis Daley, a County employee in Finance and Administration who benefitted last year from the current six-week leave policy, said the change goes beyond just good policy. “I think it’s a necessity,” Daley said. “It helps with alleviating the pressure that having a new baby can bring. A lot of people when they have a child, the first thing they think about is, ‘What’s going to happen if I take time off?’ Knowing that your employer is behind you the way the County is, and knowing that they understand that the first few months of a baby’s life are that important, means a lot to me.”

Another employee, Christine Stenak, who took paid leave after giving birth to her third child last November, said, “I’m very grateful. It makes employees who want to build a family know that the County supports them. I felt supported. We have taken really big steps in supporting families. This is one of those things that I hope is up and coming for our entire Country.” 

Alison Wagner, a caseworker in the County’s Children and Youth Department, called the paid leave she took last year a huge benefit. “Those six weeks were crucial to me learning how to be a mom, to the normal day to day living that you have to do to adjust to becoming a new parent,” she said. “I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t gotten paid 100% for that time.”

Individuals interested in working for the County can view and apply for current open positions online at Potential employees can view the current benefits package online.

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