During the state budget debate over funding, the state’s parental leave policy was changed to allow employees working for the State of Ohio more paid time off upon the birth or adoption of a child. The major changes are highlighted below:
- State employees will now have 12 weeks of paid time off, at 70 percent of their regular pay rate, instead of the previous six weeks (of which only four were paid).
- The 14-day unpaid waiting period that started on the first day of leave is eliminated (these were previously the two unpaid weeks).
Ohio is modeling an improved family leave policy
While just a few lines changed in the legislative language, these changes are significant for families. Moving from four paid weeks to 12, even at 70 percent of base pay, is a positive, family-friendly step for the state. Paid family leave is associated with improved physical and mental health for new parents, decreased infant mortality, improved financial stability, and better connections to the workforce, especially for women. And, while largely the United States is still falling behind compared to other countries with generous leave policies that better align with infant development and maternal recovery, this move is a welcome step in the right direction.
Moving from four paid weeks to 12, even at 70 percent of base pay, is a positive, family-friendly step for the state.
It is important to note that this policy change relates to parental leave only and gaps remain as it relates to overall family and caretaker leave policies. Each family’s circumstances are unique, and this parental leave policy will not fit all caretaking needs. There continues to be room for improvement.
It is encouraging that the state of Ohio is modeling an improved family leave policy as this can set the stage for other public, nonprofit and businesses to follow suit. Paid leave is one important component to overall wellbeing and supporting Ohioans in a work-life balance.