CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday that all city employees will soon receive up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave.
The new policy applies to approximately 32,000 employees, the city said in a press release, and will be available to both birthing and non-birthing parents. It also applies to those growing their family by adoption and foster care, as well as for those acting as a surrogate.
Lightfoot said employees will receive 100% of their pay for up to the entirety of the 12 weeks. To be eligible for this benefit, city employees must be eligible for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), meaning they must work for the City for at least 12 months before taking leave and worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12-month period immediately preceding the leave.
The city's prior policy had not been revised since 2011 and provided up to four or six weeks of paid leave for birth parents, Lightfoot said, depending on the type of birth and only two weeks for non-birth parents.
"The pandemic taught us many important lessons, two of which are that families need help now more than ever, and unpaid care work is a detriment to our labor market," Lightfoot said in a written statement. "Ensuring parents have time to bond with their new child, heal from birth, and receive their wages will have long-lasting positive impacts on our employees and city. I call on my colleagues in the private sector to join me in offering this critical benefit, which undeniably builds equity within our workforce."
The paid parental leave policy takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.