Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez
Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez rolled out a new paid family leave policy.

Attention new parents: By 2020, Seattle could require all businesses in its city limits to offer you six months of paid time off. The proposal would more than double what New York offers, which is 12 weeks, currently the longest paid parental leave policy in the country.

Nearly half of Seattle’s more than 400,000 workers don’t have access to any amount of paid parental leave. And for low-wage workers, that number jumps to two-thirds.

It’s currently up to private businesses to determine how much paid time off they offer to new parents. Among those private employers that have such policies in place, most plans are less than 8 weeks long, according to a survey of 400 Seattle workers commissioned by the Seattle City Council.

That means workers like Jeanette Randall, a checker at Safeway, must often choose between work and attending the medical appointments of her child who is autistic. “I should be taking off work to spend time with my son,” she said at a city council committee meeting Wednesday. “I should make it to every appointment. I shouldn’t have to think about what missing work means for my family.”

 

 

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