Gov. Brad Little (R) is offering up eight weeks of paid parental leave to workers at most state agencies beginning this summer.
Right now, Idaho state workers can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave when they have a new child or adopt one as required under federal law. They can also use vacation and sick leave during that time.
Little’s executive order he signed Wednesday would pay many public workers for eight of those weeks.
“When we support a work culture that balances the demands of family life with the demands of the workplace, we see less turnover and a more productive and engaged workforce,” Little said.
But this policy would only cover those who work in the executive branch. That means those working in the courts, legislative offices or folks employed by other elected officials, like the attorney general, won’t be covered.
Little says he’s urging those branches to adopt a similar paid parental leave policy instead of changing state law to force it upon them.
“I’m always an advocate of leading by example instead of leading by legislation,” he said.
The United States is one of only two countries in the world to not require paid maternal leave, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 91 countries also offer paid paternity leave.
Little’s order isn’t expected to affect Idaho’s budget much, as agencies will use their existing salary budget to cover the new benefit.
Eight other states and Washington, D.C. have approved paid family leave programs, though half of them have yet to go into effect. President Donald Trump (R) recently signed a bill creating a 12-week paid family leave program for federal workers that will begin Oct. 1 this year.
Idaho officials are still working out the details of this policy that will take effect July 1.
Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.
Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio