March 30, 2022 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner announced today that Houston City Council plans to consider and vote next week on a proposed equitable, progressive parental leave policy for city employees based on the recommendation of the Houston Women's Commission.
Created in August 2021, Mayor Turner challenged the newly appointed members to study the feasibility of creating the city's first paid parental leave policy.
In an effort led by District C Councilmember Abbie Kamin and Chair Beth Matusoff Merfish, the proposed paid parental leave policy is included in the Commission's newly released six-month report outlining additional recommendations, future goals, and objectives.
The Commission worked with the city of Houston Human Resources Director Jane Cheeks, Finance Director Tantri Emo, and others to create a draft policy for Mayor Turner's consideration.
"By offering paid parental leave, the City of Houston will be able to attract and retain top talent while supporting families and children," said Mayor Turner. "I am pleased with the recommended policy and am grateful to the Houston Women's Commission members for their work."
The draft policy offers new parents who have worked for the City of Houston for at least six months the option to take up to 12 weeks of paid leave after the birth, adoption, or placement of a foster-to-adopt child, along with other benefits that include support for pregnant women.
"This is a pivotal moment for the city. No parent should have to choose between a paycheck and caring for yourself and your family," said Council Member Abbie Kamin, District C. "The pandemic exacerbated issues that have existed for too long for women in our state. Under Mayor Turner's leadership, we're not only bringing forward paid parental leave, we're including additional benefits to support women, their health, and the health of children with prenatal and child wellness benefits. So much work has gone into this."
"We are hopeful that this policy will be adopted by the city and look forward to how this investment in women in the city of Houston will make city employment more accessible and welcoming to the talented women of Houston," added Commission Chair Merfish.
The six-month report submitted by the Houston Women's Commission is available online at www.houstontx.gov/womenscommission.