Cook County moves toward giving employees 12 weeks of paid parental leave


Based on a proposal by Cook County Commissioner Bridget Degnen and Board Chairman Toni Prekwinkle, workers across the Cook County government may soon be eligible for 12 weeks of paid parental leave.

Current policy allows birth parents four weeks paid leave for non-surgical births and six weeks paid leave for surgical births. Barren parents and adoptive parents are currently entitled to a grace period of just two weeks. But the county commission unanimously approved a resolution in October looking at the costs of expanding paid parental leave, citing research on improving health for both children and parents.

A Fiscal Impact Report released Thursday estimated that the 12-week extension to all county employees would cost an additional $3.8 million in salaries and associated payroll taxes. This amount includes approximately $540,000 in overtime costs to cover employee responsibilities while on vacation.

The current cost of paid parental leave is $2.1 million, according to the County Treasurer. Estimates released Thursday assume all employees will take the full 12 weeks. As it stands, about 40% of employees take less than her 12 weeks off.

Financial spokesman Ted Nelson said in an email that the agency looked at employees’ annual births and adoptions and “historical parental leave data for the last few years” to determine costs. rice field. “The expected additional cost of $3.3 million is the amount of unpaid leave that is currently due to be paid. It doesn’t cost.”

Last fall, Prekwinkle said he supports the expansion, but wants all employees to enjoy the same benefits at the same time.

“Being a mother myself, not to mention being a grandmother, I believe in parental leave,” she said. “We would like to be able to offer this benefit to both exempt persons and union employees at the same time, and we are looking at how we will manage it.”

The expansion “will be subject to collective bargaining,” according to the bill Degnen and Prekwinkle submitted to the board on Thursday. Only employees who have worked in the county for 12 consecutive months are eligible. Eligible employees are “intentional surrogacy parents,” or adoptive or foster parents of children under the age of 17, if they are not the biological or biological parent.

A resolution to extend the leave was referred to the committee at Thursday’s board meeting. If passed next month, the policy will go into effect on July 1. Degnen told the Tribune that he hopes to extend the policy to forest reserve officials.

The city of Chicago will begin offering 12 weeks of parental leave to employees in early 2023.


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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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