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Phoenix council unanimously approves 'generous benefit' for full-time employees
In hopes of keeping and attracting new talent, the Phoenix City Council has unanimously approved up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave.
Starting Oct. 1, full-time employees can get up to 480 hours of paid leave for the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child.
During last Friday’s council meeting, Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari said the policy is especially fitting, “Given that reproductive rights are under attack as well and we need to be doing everything in our power to protect Phoenicians' abilities to continue to make their own family planning decisions.”
The Supreme Court recently ruled there is no constitutional right to abortion. Councilman Sal DiCiccio said the ruling should cause pro-life individuals, like himself, to think about how they support families.
“If we’re going to be seeing more adoptions, more foster care, then we’ve got to be stepping it up ourselves, too,” he said.
Councilwoman Ann O’Brien said her employer offered no paid parental leave when she could’ve used it nearly 27 years ago.
“Certainly after the pandemic and the great resignation, we are all hurting for additional workforce and the available workforce is demanding more from their future employers,” she said.
"Certainly after the pandemic and the great resignation, we are all hurting for additional workforce and the available workforce is demanding more from their future employers."
— Councilwoman Ann O'Brien
Mayor Kate Gallego said it will make Phoenix a more competitive employer.
“When I was first elected I worked on a[n] equal pay group at the city of Phoenix trying to move forward with pay equity and we tried at that time to invest in parental leave at this level and it has taken quite a long time to figure out how we can pay for this generous benefit,” she said.
The council also approved a five-year contract worth $1 million with Care.com Inc. The company will provide eligible full-time employees with backup care, tutoring and discounted services.
Here’s how the benefit was explained in a council report:
“Backup care services include child care (in-home and out-of-home), senior caregivers, caregivers for special needs children and adults, tutors and distance learning facilitators, etc. Discounted services include City employee discounts to child care, senior care services, fitness and wellness, etc.”
In a prepared statement, Phoenix City Manager Jeff Barton said, "Our employees are our most valuable assets. Adding parental leave to the many benefits offered by the City demonstrates our investment in them, which in turn, is an investment in our community.”
In June, the council approved $20 million to boost police pay, making Phoenix the highest paid law enforcement agency in the state. Phoenix is undergoing a citywide compensation study for more than 14,000 employees, which is expected to be finalized early next year.