St. Petersburg city employees will soon have access to eight weeks of paid parental leave.
Mayor Rick Kriseman sent a memo to employees Monday announcing the city was expanding its paid parental leave policies to provide up to eight weeks leave, up from the previous six week allotment Kriseman launched in 2015.
“Family comes first. This is a belief I’ve always held and an area of leadership where we’ve worked hard to align the city of St. Petersburg’s practices with our values and philosophies,” Kriseman wrote.
His administration shared the news in a Facebook post Monday using the hashtag #LeadOnLeave.
“More work/life balance is good for the child, the parent, and us as employers,” they wrote.
The policy change takes effect Jan. 15. It applies to any employee experiencing the birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child.
“I offer this increase to encourage additional work/life balance to new parents with growing families,” Kriseman wrote in his memo.
The city is working with its labor relations department to update rules and regulations and any applicable labor agreements.
Kriseman asked department heads to share the information with their teams, including to those who do not have access to email.
The paid leave option will be a valuable tool for the city in talent attraction and retention as more and more workers are looking for employment that balances professional demand with personal life and includes fathers, as well as mothers.
Kriseman has tackled other citywide policy changes to improve quality of life for workers including raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour, which took effect last October.
Kriseman frequently rebukes those who criticize such policies for the increased cost to the city and thus, taxpayers. During a 2015 talk at the Florida Democratic Convention, Kriseman dismissed such arguments as “crap.”
“When we are paying our employees more, we get two benefits from that. Number one, they’re going to be more likely to stay with us, which means we’re not having to retrain new employees, and that saves us money. We’re not having to spend money recruiting new employees, so that saves us money,” he said then.