Mayor Doug Echols signaled his support last week for a recommendation that Rock Hill add paid maternity leave to its benefits package for city employees.
The proposal, which details female full-time or part-time employees be eligible for four weeks of paid maternity leave, came during Thursday’s City Council budget workshop at City Hall.
Echols also asked city staff to consider adding “a week or two” of paid paternity leave, saying it would be helpful for the family to bring the baby home and be settled before returning to work.
Echols said he approved of the proposal, which he said is important to keep the city as “family-friendly as possible.”
“We’ve had a focus over the last few years of what we call the No. 1 question: ‘Is it good for the children?’” he said.
The proposal details that effective July 1, female employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 consecutive months immediately preceding giving birth to a child (or preceding the date leave if requested prior to giving birth) would be eligible for the maternity leave.
We’ve had a focus over the last few years of what we call the No. 1 question: ‘Is it good for the children?’
Rock Hill Mayor Doug Echols
Each week of the leave would be compensated at 100 percent of the employee’s regular weekly pay. Approved maternity leave may be taken at any time during pregnancy, according to the proposal, and up to the date that is 180 days immediately following the birth.
“I don’t see this as a big expense item,” Echols said. “There’s more to be gained by the city as an organization being able to offer these opportunities. We’re always looking for benefits to encourage employment.”
Last year, a maternity/paternity leave program would have affected three female city employees and 22 males, according to Rock Hill spokesperson Katie Quinn. The city has 951 full-time or part-time employees.
Echols said staff will likely have an updated proposal at the next budget workshop May 16. The City Council could vote on the issue at the regular meeting June 12.