Councilmembers Nguyen, Rocha Push for Paid Parental Leave Incentive

Vice Mayor Madison Nguyen and Councilmember Don Rocha want the city to offer some measure of paid parental leave to make it more enticing for new hires and more accommodating of existing workers. Right now, if a woman wants time off for a pregnancy or birth, she has to opt in for long-term disability. There is no option for men.

“Obviously, San Jose is looking for candidates and this would be a great incentive to attract new talent,” Nguyen writes.

Nguyen and Rocha signed off on a memo proposing paid parental leave that goes before the Rules and Open Government Committee on Wednesday.

“Through the last several years our workforce has been strained and tested, shrinking in size but not in workload or responsibility,” the memo reads. “As we begin the task of focusing on workforce development, we believe that the city is in an excellent place to consider adding paid paternal leave as a benefit to its employees.”

The exact details would be worked out if the Rules committee moves forward with the plan. But Nguyen says she has in mind to offer up to a month of full paid leave for men and women. The perks would match those offered by many private-sector employers in the region and, in the public sphere, the city of Sunnyvale.

A family leave benefit might also help to attract younger talent, Nguyen notes. It would only apply to city staff, not elected leaders.

It’s unclear what such a policy would cost the city until its staff is directed to study the issue. Right now, the city’s policies reflect the minimum standards set by state and federal law.

“Our interest here is in understanding the policy and budget impacts of a policy and benefit structure that would allow both men and women to participate in the birth or adoption of a new child in an equal way, while not undergoing the financial stress of taking unpaid leave,” the memo continues.

More from the San Jose Rules and Open Government Committee agenda for August 21, 2013:

• To avoid paying fines when a vehicle registration’s due, some folks transfer the title of their car to a friend or relative. The city wants to support a state bill, AB 443 authored by Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), that would close that loophole by prohibiting DMV from transferring a title until violations are paid off.

• Some senior citizens are worried that a city initiative to encourage public transportation could become a burden for the elderly. A plan to free up street parking by removing assignations to housing units could become a hassle, says the city’s Senior Citizens Commission.

“No housing unit is guaranteed a parking spot and addition fees are levied for those parking spots,” writes Joyce Rabourn, seniors commission president. “Seniors and the disabled therefore face the daunting problems of being assigned a parking spot far from their residence and/or being on a waiting list for years to even have any assigned parking at all.”

WHAT: Rules and Open Government Committee meets
WHEN: 2pm Wednesday
WHERE: City Hall, 200 E. Santa Clara St., San Jose
INFO: City Clerk, 408.535.1260

Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


  1. No way Mayor Reed, PO, Constant or Alex Gurza would actually pass something that benefits the employees of the city without taking something else away.

  2. You really believe that this Mayor along with his gang of 5 would voluntarily do something that would benefit city workers? the only reason Maddie is for it , is so she can take advantage of it . shes not doing it for the workers.

  3. The “Not Fair!” dot-com folks who have reduced (or free) cafeterias and child care will cry foul.  They don’t get paid time off, a reasonable retirement or 5 years of health care until Medicare kick in… so no one else should either!

  4. Every time I turn away long enough to forget how stupid some politicians are, one or more of them grab the headlines—and my attention, and remind me of the horror that is the current state of our political institutions.

    Madison Nguyen wants to be mayor. Lacking either the necessary charisma or record of achievement, she apparently hopes that this insulting little scheme of hers will be confused as a sincere attempt to rectify some of the ruinous mistakes made by her and her political allies in their war on city employees. Her offer of paid leave “competitive” with that offered by private employers, which might make sense were the city’s principal competition for new hires the private sector, is absurd given that the real competition (for hard to fill jobs) is with other government agencies. Anyone who thinks a personal leave policy is going to convince the hundreds of qualified police cadets this city will need in the next few years to choose SJPD over neighboring departments offering 25 to 40 percent more in salary and benefits just might be dumb enough to vote for Madison (or work as her political consultant).

    As for appeasing current employees (you know, those working at levels below minimum staffing), introducing any policy that would further aggravate employee shortages is ill-advised and counterproductive. We don’t need any more empty office chairs, unanswered phones, or parked police cars. Quite frankly, in the wake of the pay cuts endured, and with their medical benefits eroded and under threat of further reductions, I don’t think many city employees can even afford to bring in new mouths to feed.

  5. News flash…the few people looking for jobs with the City are checking pay and retirement benefits first.  Anything else is a bonus.  But to advertise this as some meaningful perk, is only meaningless, trivial, and insulting. 

    City employees already get this, and use this, by using their sick leave and vacation leave, since vacation leave cannot be sold back anymore.

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