The City of Goleta will soon have a comprehensive parental leave program for its employees giving parents peace of mind that they will have the time to bond with their new child without added financial worry. At the October 17, 2023, Goleta City Council meeting, the Council adopted new policies that will provide staff with at least ten weeks of pregnancy disability leave and at least six weeks of parental bonding leave, without losing their pay and benefit contributions, and without having to use their accrued vacation and sick time.
Mayor Paula Perotte said, “We are proud to be able to offer our employees this benefit. Welcoming a new child is an intense and joyful time for a family. This new policy will ensure that our employees don’t have to worry about losing pay and health benefits, or exhausting their leave balances, during a pregnancy. It will also allow all new parents paid time away from work to bond with their new child.”
District 1 Councilmember Luz Reyes-Martín added, “As a working mom of young children, I understand firsthand how vital this policy is. It is important that our City employees are supported with family leave policies that allow them and their children to thrive. I hope that Goleta can be an example for other public agencies and businesses in doing all they can to support parents in the workplace.”
Currently, City employees who take time off for pregnancy or to bond with a new child often end up exhausting their leave balances and transitioning to only partially paid (via California State Disability or Paid Family Leave) or fully unpaid leave. Parents may also end up exhausting their City-paid contribution to medical benefits, requiring them to pay the full premium amount during parental bonding leave. The new policies will supplement California State Disability or Paid Family Leave payments to provide better income replacement and benefit continuation for new parents.
Multiple studies have shown improved physical and mental health outcomes for parents and children related to the availability of paid pregnancy and parental leave, and resulting reductions in negative outcomes such as interfamily abuse. The City hopes that the existence of these policies further demonstrates its commitment to families and has a positive impact on employee recruitment, retention, and engagement.