Family and parental leave policies are new front for labor supporters

Efforts to craft a parental- and family-leave law are underway in the state Legislature, while Seattle City Councilmember M. Lorena González plans to introduce Wednesday a proposal for a leave law that would cover all employers within the city.

Councilmember González’s proposal, which she intends to introduce Wednesday at a committee meeting, would cover all employers and employees within the city.

Her proposal would give employees up to 26 weeks of paid family leave to bond with a new child or care for a seriously ill family member, plus 12 weeks of paid medical leave in the event of a serious personal illness.

“The need for families in Seattle is so significant, especially as we consider that Seattle is one of the most expensive cities in the state,” she said.

She cited a recent city-sponsored survey of Seattle employers that showed half do not offer any paid parental, family or serious medical personal leave, and that 56 percent favor having a universal paid family-leave program in Seattle.


But González is actually hoping the state passes legislation this session. Her proposal is intended to show what the city might push for if the state doesn’t come through.

“I am prepared to do a Seattle-only policy if necessary,” she said, but “my preference is to see a statewide solution.”

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