Minneapolis will begin offering city employees three months of paid leave following the birth or adoption of a child, quadruple the amount it was previously providing.
"This makes so much sense from an employer standpoint, certainly around retention and attracting employees," said City Council Member Andrew Johnson, who helped write the new policy. Beyond that, he said, "the benefits for the baby, the family and society are just so huge."
The change comes at a time when Minneapolis officials are trying to bring the city's workforce closer to pre-pandemic levels. The City Council voted unanimously to approve the change Thursday, and Mayor Jacob Frey's office has said he will sign off on it.
Minneapolis began offering three weeks of paid parental leave in 2015. That lagged behind what was offered by many companies in the area. The city's human resources department found that many public sector employers offered four to 12 weeks, while many private companies offered between 10 and 18 weeks.
Nearly 150 of the city's roughly 4,000 employees used the benefit in 2021, an increase from recent years, Amy Friedman, a benefits manager for the city, told council members in a committee meeting earlier this week.
"Increasing our paid parental leave to 12 weeks provides a benefit that will differentiate us from other employers and help us to achieve one of our goals of being an employer of choice, as well as recognizing family-work-life balance as important and vital to the success of our employees and to the city of Minneapolis," Friedman said.
The city said it does not anticipate any increased costs as a result of the change. Since city workers' salaries are already accounted for in the budget, "paying them while on leave does not impact the budget," said Sarah McKenzie, a spokesperson for the city.