City of Austin now provides paid parental leave for sworn police, fire and EMS employees

The City of Austin is introducing paid parental leave for sworn police, fire and EMS employees.

Until Wednesday, paid parental leave for sworn employees has been left to labor negotiations between the city and public safety unions. None of the current or past labor contracts included this benefit following their agreement. 

Following an Austin City Council resolution to develop options to provide paid parental leave for sworn police, fire and EMS personnel, the city’s human resources department reviewed several benchmark cities and met with each sworn department and their association.  

Effective immediately, the city of Austin will provide up to six weeks of paid leave for sworn employees with the same criteria and process as provided to non-sworn employees.  

Sworn employees will continue to receive current benefits, such as shared leave, short or long term disability, and the ADA accommodation process to accommodate anyone with a medical necessity for time beyond the 12-week Family and Medical Leave Act period. 

A memo was sent to the mayor and city council.

The leaders of Austin’s three public safety unions – Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday, Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks, and Austin EMS Association President Selena Xie – released a statement following the move.

In a joint statement, they said: "Extending parental leave to Police, Fire and EMS personnel is sorely needed, very appreciated by your public safety workers, and demonstrates that our Council, City Manager, City Human Resource Department and the Community truly care about the well-being of their public safety employees." 

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