Statewide News

Oct. 1 marks start of paid parental leave for state employees, employers across Michigan may enact similar policies

Photo by Larry Crayton on Unsplash

Paid parental leave for state employees begins Oct. 1, 2020, providing nearly 49,000 eligible individuals up to 12 weeks of paid leave immediately following birth or adoption of a child.

Oct. 1 marks the first time a benefit of this type has been made available to the state government workforce. A career employee who is currently working and who has successfully completed an initial probationary period during the current employment period and worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months is eligible for a 12-week paid parental leave for the birth or placement by adoption of a child under the new policies.

“Our state employees embody the spirit of public service and they work hard every day to ensure that the 10 million residents across the state are getting the programs and services they need from their state government,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “As someone whose parents both worked in public service and who had both of my daughters while serving in the legislature, I know the type of commitment and dedication and family sacrifice required to get the job done, and I see that same commitment every day from our state workforce, which is why I am so pleased and happy to make this important new benefit available. The birth or adoption of a child requires time and effort at home, and state employees should rest assured that they will be able to take that time when they need it the most without having to worry about their paycheck.”

Before beginning a paid parental leave, the employee must give notice of the expected start and end date for the leave. A paid parental leave lasts up to 12 contiguous weeks. The leave begins on the date of the birth or adoption and ends, at most, 84 days later. An employee on paid parental leave may be absent from all regularly scheduled hours under the same conditions that would apply as if on paid sick leave. Paid holidays observed during paid parental leave are recorded as paid holidays and do not extend a 12-week paid parental leave.

Employees will receive their base pay during paid parental leave, and the employee need not exhaust their already accrued sick and annual leave before taking a paid parental leave. Sick and annual leave time are accrued as usual during the paid parental leave. If two state employees are parents for the same birth or adoption, both may take a paid parental leave of 12 weeks. Births or adoptions before October 1, 2020 do not qualify for paid parental leave.

The Office of State Employer worked in conjunction with state employee unions to develop Letters of Understanding for the implementation of paid parental leave. To qualify for the benefit, the employee must be a named parent on the child’s birth certificate or adoption papers, which must be presented within 31 days from the birth or adoption. Adoption of children related by blood or marriage or of a child over six years of age does not qualify for paid parental leave.

As part of the new budget now in place for Fiscal Year 2021, no additional temporary layoff days are planned for state employees, with no plans for a reduction in the workforce. The state hiring freeze and spending freeze remain in effect until further notice.

“Science and experience show us how important it is for parents to be present after welcoming a new child into their family,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “This is especially important for fathers, which is why I took leave when my daughter Ruby was born in 2019. This time is critical to the development of happier, healthier children and families, and I am proud that our administration is making this commitment to our workforce. These policies strengthen families, and I hope that employers across Michigan work to enact similar policies.”

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