Delaware's House Passes Paid Parental Leave for School Employees - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware's House Passes Paid Parental Leave for School Employees

Posted: Jun 12, 2018 10:43 PM Updated:

DOVER, Del.- On a vote of 27 to 13 (with one absent), the Delaware House of Representatives passed House Bill 3 that seeks to grant to state and public school employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave. 

The new benefit, advocated by Gov. John Carney, could be used by both parents upon the birth of a child or the adoption of a child, 6 years of age or younger.

According to a fiscal note by the Office of the Controller General, the proposal would initially cost taxpayers more than $5.1 million annually, with local school districts picking up about a quarter of that cost.

Advocates maintain the benefit would be strong tool for recruiting and retaining employees.  They also claim allowing parents to spend three months with their new children will enhance pediatric health and build stronger family bonds.

While not opposing the concept of parental leave, those voting against the bill said Delaware’s benefit would be the most generous in the nation.  Unlike some other states, Delaware employees would not be required to help finance the benefit; would receive 100-percent of their salary while on leave; and could claim the leave after only one year on the job.

Additionally, employees would have up to 12 months from the date of the birth or the adoption to utilize the benefit.

State Rep. Ruth Briggs King unsuccessfully tried to amend the bill to reduce the benefit from 12 weeks to four weeks.  Since many state workers already use leave time to cover the birth of their children, Rep. Briggs King said her amendment would still have provided significant help to new parents, while being more responsible to taxpayers. 

If enacted, the benefit would take effect starting next April.

House Bill 3 now heads to a Senate committee for consideration.  If ultimately approved by the chamber, the governor will sign it into law.

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