City of Rockville is Considering Implementing a Paid Parental Leave Policy to Provide Leave to Eligible Employees

The City of Rockville is considering implementing a Pair Parental Leave Policy to provide leave to eligible employees following the birth of an employee’s child or the placement of a child with an employee in connection with adoption or foster care. Paid Leave would run concurrently with leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), as applicable.

This was discussed on the January 31st, 2022 Mayor and Council meeting. Discussion on the matter will continue. Per City Code, unless the Mayor and Council instruct staff to modify the proposed policy, the policy will go into effect 55 days from the distribution of the revised PPM to the Mayor and Council.

From the City of Rockville:

The City of Rockville has long had in place processes for employees who wish or need to take time off due to the birth of a child or placement for adoption or foster care, which includes the following:

  • ➢  Employees follow the requirements of the FMLA, and eligible employees may take a total of up to 12 weeks per year as protected leave under the FMLA.
  • ➢  Medical leave following the birth of an employee’s child is typically six (6) or eight (8) weeks, depending on the type of delivery. During the medical time off, the mother uses sick leave and compensatory/annual leave, as needed, and may be eligible to receive leave from the Short-Term Disability Leave Bank (see below). A spouse may use family sick leave but is not eligible for leave from the Short-Term Disability Leave Bank.
  • ➢  Eligible employees may receive Short-Term Disability Leave Bank withdrawals after meeting a 15-calendar-day elimination period and exhausting all of their own leave. Withdrawals may continue for the medically-certified period, for up to 90 calendar days from the start of the absence, (at which point the employee would need to apply for long-term disability benefits if medically unable to return to work).
  • ➢  After the medical leave, additional time off (for bonding/family leave) may be taken, using the employee’s compensatory/annual leave, followed by unpaid leave if needed.

Highlights of a proposed new Paid Parental Leave Policy include the following:

  • ➢  Regular employees who have been employed by the City for at least 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the start of the leave would be eligible for paid parental leave.
  • ➢  Paid parental leave of up to eight (8) workweeks may be granted for the following reasons: the birth of a child; the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care; an employee’s medical recovery following childbirth; or an employee’s need to care for a spouse during the medical recovery following childbirth.
  • ➢  Paid parental leave must be used within twelve (12) months following the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of the child.
  • ➢  Paid parental leave runs concurrently with, and is not in addition to, leave taken under the FMLA.
  • ➢  Employees may use paid parental leave before other accrued leave, such as annual leave or sick leave.
  • ➢  Paid parental leave that is not used by the employee prior to the end of the 12-month period to which it relates, shall be forfeited.
  • ➢  Paid parental leave would be paid at the employee’s regular pay rate based on their regularly-scheduled workweek; however, it shall not include overtime.
  • ➢  The City would maintain all benefits for employees during the paid parental leave period just as if the employee were taking other paid leave, such as annual leave or sick leave.
  • ➢  Upon return from paid parental leave, employees would be restored to their original or an equivalent position.

The Human Resources Department surveyed peer jurisdictions to gather information regarding whether they have a designated parental leave policy and, if so, the specifics of their leave policies. Information gathered is summarized in the attached chart. Although most jurisdictions have not implemented a designated parental leave policy, a couple of jurisdictions indicated that they are exploring this benefit option.

The City will be completing a list of benefits offered to City employees, to do an analysis of what is currently offered.

Fiscal Impact

Based on the draft Parental Leave Policy, the estimated annual value of a four, six, or eight week paid parental leave benefit would be approximately $160,000, $241,000, or $321,000, respectively. These dollar values assume an estimated ten (10) covered events per year and includes the value of the parental leave paid to the employees, the value of backfill coverage during the leave, and the future value of the leave preserved as a result of the employees not having to use their accumulated leave.

Next Steps

With Mayor and Council direction, staff will provide additional information for discussion on this benefit.

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