LANSING, Mich. — It's been about a year since Michigan began offering paid parental leave for its state workers.
Since October 2020 Michigan's 48,000 state workers have had access to up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child.
According to the Michigan Department of Management and Budget, in the last year, 1,340 state employees used a total of more than 500,000 hours of paid parental leave.
“We're very proud to enact this in the state budget last year and to see so many state employees have been able to benefit, so many civil servants have benefited from this new benefit being available," said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. "We actually hope that this will be a model, and we'll set a standard for employers across Michigan to recognize the value of this to families overall to our communities, as well as to the employees in their workforce.”
Gilchrist said the policy has increased employee satisfaction. ,
"What has been observed as far as companies that have these policies is one employee satisfaction employees knowing that they have the confidence of that an employer cares about their whole person, just not only cares about their productivity and working hours," he said.
To be eligible, state workers must have worked through their workplace probationary periods, have worked 1,250 hours over the past year and be named on the adoption papers or birth certificate.
“I think that employers have seen employees come back energized and motivated and productive after being able to have this time and establish those relationships and establish those routines," Gilchrist said. "And that's great for everyone in the community as well as our economy.”
Those hours are available to both new moms and new dads. In fact, the Department of Management and Budget reports more men used the leave than women. Gilchrist said he really valued bonding with his new baby.
“I can talk with this on a very personal level when my youngest daughter, Ruby was born on Juneteenth in 2019," he said. "You know, I wanted to model what it meant to take some time to be with my family, to be with my new baby, to support my wife and our other children as we welcome the baby into our lives.”
Gilchrist said he hopes to see more companies follow Michigan's lead and provide paid parental leave to their workers as well.