The city of Chicago has never offered maternity leave to its pregnant employees, but the Emanuel administration announced a change to that policy Wednesday, bringing the city "into the 21st century."
Ald. Joe Moore (49th) told the Chicago Sun-Times in July that the mayor was considering offering maternity leave to employees, and said it was "not humane" to deny mothers that time off.
The new policy will give pregnant city workers four weeks of paid maternity leave after routine vaginal births, according to the Sun-Times. Those requiring C-sections will get six weeks off. Adoptive parents will receive two weeks off, and spouses or partners of those giving birth will get one paid week off.
Aside from tackling maternity leave on Wednesday, Mayor Emanuel also announced changes to the city's vacation policies. Many were outraged following a June report that former Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis left his job with a $76,308 check for 64 unused vacation days.
Under the new policy, non-union employees would only be able to carry over five unused vacation days into the following year, the Chicago Tribune reports.
"Implementing the City’s first maternity leave policy and reforming our vacation leave policies brings our City government into the 21st century, while increasing efficiency and reducing costs to the people of Chicago,” Emanuel said in a statement Wednesday.
For now, both the maternity leave and vacation time changes apply to non-union employees only. Union members will have to negotiate new contracts before the changes can be made, the Sun-Times reports.
“It’s gonna help us recruit and maintain a workforce. ... It’s not only a good business practice, but it’s in line with who we are," Mayor Emanuel said of the maternity leave change in July. "... I can say this as somebody who took a week off when each child was born of my three. It’s the right thing to do for your employees. … It’s good values. And it’s a great way to start a child off in the bonding between an adult and a child.”