CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The city of Lakewood will consider a policy change that would grant full-time city employees paid paternity leave.
The change, proposed by Councilwoman Meghan F. George, would give 12 weeks to new moms and 2 weeks to new dads.
George says that she has been thinking about paid paternity leave policies since she took office.
“I think people are finally realizing that, you know, it’s an equality benefit for women," she said. "A man never gives birth. He never has to use his sick time in order to take care of their child or recover from childbirth.”
However, she says there are benefits for the city, too.
“We’re in a job market with a very low unemployment rate and we are fighting to get the best and brightest talent to work for the city of Lakewood and also start and work for the city of Lakewood," said George.
The United States remains one of the few countries worldwide that does not guarantee paid time off for new parents, although private employers may opt to do so if they wish. George, who works in employer benefits programs, says up to 35 percent currently offer some kind of paid leave to attract top-notch employees.
I asked people around Lakewood what they think, and most people told me they would support a policy like this.
Stephanie Halfacre works for a private employer, who offered her thirteen weeks paid time off after she gave birth to her daughter.
“It was better bonding time," said Halfacre, who said she thinks the employees in Lakewood should have this benefit, too.
However, others point out that it would add costs to the city, and aren't sure they would support that.
“Since the taxpayers are paying, probably not. I’m sure taxpayer money can go to other things that are better for the city, so I guess, is it something they’re going to vote on," said Whitney McKinney. "They’ll just have to vote on it and see how the voters feel.”
The council is expected to begin discussing paid parental leave policies at its meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Lakewood City Auditorium.