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New paid family leave policy in place for some Syracuse workers

Ellen Abbott
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh has instituted a paid family leave policy for non-union city employees

The city of Syracuse is putting a paid parental leave policy in place starting this month. Non-unionized employees in the city will get the benefit, receiving 12 weeks of paid leave which can be used in the cases of a new birth, adoption or foster placement. The city had no paid leave policy in place before this, according to Mayor Ben Walsh

"Our hope is that by taking the issue of pay off the table to make sure they have that economic security, that can relieve that amount of stress and make sure when our employees come back, they’re ready to come back and ultimately are ready to give their all to their job here with the city," said Walsh.

The initiative is personal for Walsh as the father of two young daughters. 

"I know how much I valued that time I had right after birth, I know how much my wife valued that time.   As we look to attract and retain great employees, we think this is a really nice benefit that can help find that work/life balance," he said.

Walsh said this will keep parents from having to choose between giving up vacation time or a paycheck in order to spend time with their family. Walsh said this a first step, suggesting it may be a point of negotiation with unions that represent the bulk of city employees. 

There are no budget ramifications from the new benefit that went into effect December 1.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.