Texas Adopted Paid Leave Benefits for State Employees. Counties and Cities Can Do the Same.

Texas state agency employees and people working in the legislative and executive branches now have access to paid parental leave benefits. SB 222, effective September 1, 2023, provides eight weeks of paid parental leave to mothers and birthing parents, as well as four weeks to fathers and non-birthing parents at the birth or adoption of a child. The new policy excludes state university employees and the public education workforce. 

The state government is one of the largest employers in Texas. Lawmakers recognized that  providing paid time to care for and bond with a newborn baby or recently adopted child is a beneficial workforce retention tool and a shared value among Texans of all backgrounds. Some lawmakers have encouraged public and private sector employers to provide the same benefits to their workers. 

When filing his state employees paid parental leave bill (SB 222), Texas Senator Nichols declared in an editorial: “…as one of the largest employers in the state, I believe the state of Texas should lead by example and begin to offer paid parental leave to all state employees.”

Texas’ paid parental leave policy sets a good precedent for city and county governments to implement similar policies. See which cities and counties already have. 

Paid parental leave benefits city and county governments.

Offering paid parental leave can:

  • Improve employee retention and morale.
  • Increase an employer’s talent pool. 74% of working Texans do not have access to paid family leave, therefore offering this benefit makes an open position more appealing[v].
  • Help strengthens the workforce by supporting healthy families and decreasing maternal and infant mortality[vi]. 

Offering paid leave to your workforce is affordable.

Generally, city and county governments have found that the cost of covering a paid parental leave vacancy is minimal and over time the benefit provides cost savings. Sworn positions for EMS, fire, and police services may have a higher cost due to replacing the employee on paid parental leave

Every Texan, a non-partisan, nonprofit state policy organization, can help your government conduct a paid leave cost estimate. Fees may apply depending on the detail of the cost estimate. Contact Amanda Posson for more information. 

Paid leave across the US 

California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington, Colorado, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Oregon and the District of Columbia provide paid family and medical leave through public social insurance programs. New York provides paid family medical leave through a mandatory private insurance program[vii]. 

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