Holcomb grants paid parental leave for state employees starting in 2018

Indiana state employees will have access to paid paternal leave starting in 2018 as the result of a new executive order signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Holcomb on Wednesday announced he signed an order providing up to four weeks of paid leave for parents after the birth of a newborn or an adoption. The policy was part of Holcomb’s 2018 agenda and goes into effect for executive branch employees on Jan. 1. It does not apply to the legislative or judicial branch.

The policy applies to full- and part-time employees who have worked at the state for at least six months. Full-time employees are eligible to receive 150 paid hours, or four weeks, and part-timers are eligible for receive 75 paid hours, or two weeks.

Current policy does not provide any paid parental leave.

“This new policy supports families and healthy kids by ensuring parents—both women and men—get the time they need to bond and adjust to a new baby or adopted child,” Gov. Holcomb said in written comments. “This policy sends a strong message to attract more top talent to state government service.”

Though only available to state employees, the policy is significant for Indiana because state government is the fourth-largest employer in the state, with 27,318 employees in 2016—exceeded only by Indiana University Health, the U.S. government and Walmart.

The state benefit runs concurrently with federal Family and Medical Leave, which allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave after a birth, adoption or illness.

The executive order states that the policy is designed to “assist state government in recruiting the best individuals to serve Hoosiers and will help build and sustain a flourishing workforce.”

It also states that “the time to bond is most beneficial when it is available without concern over the loss of employment or wages.”

Holcomb spokeswoman Stephanie Wilson said the overall financial impact would be determined after the first year of the policy. State employees average about 350 births that are covered by the state health plan each year, but that number does not reflect adoptions, or births from spouses covered under other health plans.

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