Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: What's a Better Investment: Families or Football?

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Editorial: What's a Better Investment: Families or Football?

Article excerpt

If dog-friendly, gay-friendly, bike-friendly, trying-to-be-Uber- friendly St. Louis wanted to do even more to lure hip, young tech- savvy residents with their jobs and panache, there's another friendly option that should be tried: paid parental leave.

That's what young families need and want. Most of the other amenities St. Louis has to offer are certainly desirable. Attractive neighborhoods, low housing costs, decent transportation options, plenty of arts and cultural attractions and places to enjoy family activities. The list goes on.

But when it comes to distinguishing itself from other Midwestern communities bidding for the same demographic, St. Louis would gain significantly by offering paid parental leave to public employees.

It's happening elsewhere.

Three days before Christmas, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio went full Santa on the city's 20,000 public employees and announced that he would offer them six weeks of paid parental leave. The estimated cost will be $15 million a year.

While the benefit is being offered to just under 7 percent of the city's workforce of 300,000 employees, it is an effort on Mr. de Blasio's part to forge ahead with his agenda to expand workers rights. The leave is being offered to nonunionized managers and city workers, including administrative assistants, budget analysts and accountants.

He used an executive order to enact the plan, so did not have to get legislative approval. The New York State Assembly (that state's House of Representatives) passed a bill guaranteeing paid family leave for workers last year. The bill did not pass the state Senate.

Mr. de Blasio's move comes as elected officials at the state and federal level have been calling for expanded parental leave benefits. An initiative of President Barack Obama's to help working families includes greater workplace flexibility so employees can use sick leave to care for newborn and adopted children and aging family members.

A few states are forging plans of their own to help families. For instance, California and New Jersey have established family leave insurance laws that help workers take paid leave to care for a new child or a sick family member.

These sorts of efforts are picking up steam among some private employers, too, mostly technology-oriented companies with a younger work force. For example, Netflix began offering up to a year of paid parental leave for some employees last August.

Shortly after that, software giant Microsoft expanded its parental leave offerings. Spotify, Facebook, Adobe, Google, Twitter and Kickstarter are among other tech companies that offer at least 10 weeks of paid parental leave to new fathers.

Some companies in the financial industry are also embracing greater leave for new parents, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Dow Jones. …

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