Last month, Virginia joined a small, but growing list of states (California, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Rhode Island; soon to be joined by Maryland and Delaware) in approving paid family leave for state workers.
The new benefit plan provides eight weeks of leave at full pay to both mothers and fathers after the birth of a baby, adoption, or foster placement. Previously, parental leave was provided only to employees who had given birth, and they had to use their vacation time, sick time, and short-term disability to cobble together a partial paid leave. The leave applies to executive branch employees, but not judicial or legislative branch workers, nor independent state agency workers.
Gov. Northam also issued an executive order to form a commission to study providing child care and early learning options for state employees with children.
Although this policy only applies to certain public-sector workers, Gov. Northam said in a statement that these actions “hope to set an example for other government and private sector employers”—all fine and well, just as long as the example doesn’t turn into a mandated labor cost increase on small businesses.