As a leader of the Capitol City, one of the greatest responsibilities I have is to ensure the well-being of my employees.
Last year, I introduced a new family leave policy, which provides up to six weeks of paid leave to new parents—regardless of gender, family make-up, or length of service to Salt Lake City.
This includes a reduction in infant mortality and reduced rates of postpartum depression.
Even with this evidence, the United States is the only industrialized nation that does not offer paid parental leave.
By providing this benefit to our employees, Salt Lake City is now one of a handful of cities across the country leading on leave.
Salt Lake City Firefighter Tom Maples and his wife welcomed their first child, William, in February.
Tom, who is assigned to Station 5 in the 9th and 9th neighborhood, was planning on using just a couple of week’s vacation after his wife gave birth.
But when he heard about the new policy, his plans changed.
Because of the policy, Tom—someone who is there for our City every day—was able to be there for his wife and son when they needed him most.
And, he was able to be there for himself as well.
Like many new parents, Tom described his first few weeks of fatherhood as a pretty steep learning curve.
There were new routines, new sleeping schedules, and new responsibilities.
Looking back on the experience, Tom is incredibly grateful for the additional time off.
Realizing now that it allowed him time to bond with his son, and to go back to the station much less distracted, and even a little relaxed.
Tom says that little William is growing like crazy, and has even been to the firehouse to meet his father’s crew.
After analyzing the first few months of this policy, I am budgeting $170,000 to cover the additional costs the City may incur to provide this benefit for the coming year.
These additional costs are related to overtime or other expenses incurred by those in positions that require constant coverage—typically our emergency services personnel like Tom.
While we will continue to monitor this new policy, I strongly believe the investment we are making will benefit—not only those who serve the City like Tom—but our community as a whole.
I am proud that Salt Lake City continues to pave the way as a leading example of progress for the state and cities across the country. It is my hope that our leadership will propel other cities in our state to act, and live up to our shared values by expanding parental leave to all families.
To read Mayor Biskupski’s full budget presentation speech, please visit: https://slcmayorblog.com/
To read the entire FY 2017-18 recommended budget, please visit: http://www.slcgov.com/budget