Paid Parental Leave Begins for State Employees

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.--New parents often find it hard to find time to bond with their new baby. 

Kristall Fears is a working mom  who knows first hand the struggle of balancing a career and motherhood without paid parental leave. 

"I know I only got I think it ended up being eight or nine weeks off. That's only because I used my vacation time plus short term disability and my husband got a week off," says Fears. 

It's moms like Kristall who Governor Greitens had in mind when announcing that state employees who are primary caregivers will now have six weeks of paid parental leave and three weeks paid leave for secondary caregivers. The Missouri Department of Transportation is one of the state agencies that will benefit from the new policy.

Scott Bachman of Missouri Department of Transportation says, "We welcome the additional benefit for our employees. Previously employees would utilize their sick time and possibly vacation time when they had the birth of a child."

While Governor Greitens is offering paid parental leave for state employees, some people KOLR 10 News talked to are hoping that paid parental leave is something that will be extended to all employees who are new parents. 

Julie Bloodworth, a parent say,  "I think one of the problems we're having now with politicians is they seem to be extremely generous with themselves and we need a little more empathy going across the board with all citizens."

Missouri State Sociology Teacher Christina Ryder recognizes the progress the state is making with the new leave policy, but says the country's private sector hasn't caught up with the times.

"The time when both parents, when only one parent was able to work are really long over. We are one of only eight countries in the world that does not offer some type of paid leave for mothers of newborns in particular, " says Ryder. 

"We in America need something like this," says Fears. 

The new parental paid leave policy also applies to moms and dads who choose to adopt a child as well.


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