City officials want to explore the option of giving both male and female employees a month of paid parental leave. The perk could help attract new hires and give existing workers more incentive to stay, according to a plan by Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and Councilman Don Rocha going before the Rules and Open Government Committee meeting this week.
Currently, a woman working for the city has to sign up for long-term disability if she wants time off for pregnancy or birth. Men have no such option—they’d have to take time off without pay. Providing paid parental leave would help lure in younger talent by matching benefits offered by many of the region’s private-sector employers, Nguyen says.
But offering four weeks of paid time off for the 5,655 employee’s on the city’s payroll could end up costing taxpayers a lot of money, writes Deputy City Manager Alex Gurza. By his estimate, it would amount to about $8,600 per worker.
Right now, the city offers paid leave for vacation, sick time and executive or personal leave. Employees can also take unpaid family leave or long-term disability for birth, adoption of foster placement. Extended time off for a serious illness is unpaid.
Councilman Pierluigi Oliverio wants to tack on an option for employees to take paid leave for serious illness. The benefit wouldn’t extend to elected officials.
When Nguyen first introduced the plan back in August, she said she wanted to give men and women working for the city a chance to participate in the birth or adoption of a new child in an equal way without undergoing the stress of taking unpaid time off work.
More from the San Jose Rules and Open Government Committee agenda for Jan. 8, 2013:
• In 2012, San Jose residents overwhelmingly voted to change the city charter to reform the disability retirement rules, which were widely abused, according to a memo by Mayor Chuck Reed. A city audit found that, at one point, two-thirds of firefighters and one-third of police retired on disability. City officials want to come up with an ordinance that reassigns employees injured in the line of duty to another job if they aren’t yet eligible for a disability retirement.
“We hope that putting these elements into place will help alleviate concerns (however unfounded they may be) that injured employees would not be taken care of should they be hurt on the job,” says David Low, one of the mayor’s policy analysts. “And of course, employees who are seriously injured and can’t work anymore will still qualify for a disability retirement.”
• City critic David Wall unleashed a flurry of letters, 15 pages worth, to the public record. Topics include the city’s living wage policy, a proposed affordable housing tax and a city contract with a bankrupt construction company.
WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose