BOZEMAN - This might come as a surprise to many but the City of Bozeman didn't offer paid parental leave for new parents — but as of the new year the city enacted a new policy giving city employees eight weeks of paid parental leave.
“With eight weeks of paid leave to take care of their new child and that could be a new birth of a child or that could be someone that’s adopting a child,” said City Manager Jeff Mihelich.
The city’s new hope is to not have to put new parents in a tough situation.
“Some people have been forced to make a choice between working or having a child or adopting a child,” says Mihelich.
A city employee who asked to remain anonymous has worked for the city for more than six years. She recently had her second child under the new policy that says the time they gave new parents will help them spend time with their newborn.
“It's not just... I guess lip service, it's a meaningful amount of time,” said the employee.
The move comes as the city is working towards enacting 24 actions to make the city of Bozeman a more inclusive city to work for and live in.
“We didn't have the paid employee leave program,” says Mihelich.
At a time when labor shortages are affecting most workplaces, Mihelich hopes that by doing this the city will be able to retain employees.
“People leave the City of Bozeman employment to have children,” says Mihelich.
Not only hoping to retain employees but also attract new ones.
“We have also had people look into job opportunities with the city and decide not to apply or not to accept a position because we didn't have a paid parental leave program”
“It just demonstrates to me as an employee that the city cares about me as a person, not just a worker,” says the city employee.
When it comes to the cost, Mihelich hopes that the City will actually end up saving money in the long run by not having to go through multiple hiring processes.
“There is a lot of city investment there, but when they leave and they are not employed with the city anymore then we have to go through the same process again,” Mihelich.
This new policy is set to benefit dozens of city employees every year.