I’m proud of my city. We are catching up with the rest of the world.
Yesterday Mayor Ed Murray announced Seattle will provide paid parental leave for City employees. All parents — foster parents, adoptive parents, mothers and fathers— will have the option to take four weeks off —with pay— to bond with a new child. The mayor is encouraging other employers in the state to offer similar benefits.
This should not be the surprise, the bold move, the breakthrough that it is.
The US is the only developed country on the planet that does not give new parents paid time off to support attachment and bonding and infant brain development, and to put their newborns on a positive health trajectory. President Obama announced a similar new policy to provide six weeks paid parental leave to federal workers in his State of the Union address.
A step toward gender equity in the workplace
I’m especially glad the paid leave policy will apply to fathers as well as mothers. That presents child care as a shared responsibility. It puts to rest arguments and unfair choices that have plagued so many women’s career…You are on the mommy track, so you can’t be on the partnership track. The paid leave policy protects mothers’ earning potential, avoids unfair expectations and burdens and removes that awful choice between career and family.
Most of all, this investment in parents shows we are a society that values its children, including adopted children and those in foster care. It shows respect for the role of fathers in raising children, and the role of mothers in the workforce. It acknowledges the contributions of foster parents — special people who can love other people’s children as their own, and encourages foster parenting. Thank you Mr Mayor and Mr President for leadership toward a stronger city, region and society.