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Ohio Town Offers 6 Months of Maternity Leave

Photograph by Twenty20

Who is this Trevor Elkins person? Is he God?

Well, no; he's the mayor of Newburgh Heights, a small town in Ohio, and he just led his city to the passage of an ordinance that gives all city employees six months of fully paid maternity and paternity leave.

Six months. That's the highest in the nation.

The predominantly male city council passed the ordinance last night. However, it won't take effect until ... wait, it's in effect starting today.

Interviewed by WKYC about the generous leave policy, Elkins basically said that it's actually not that over-the-top or nuts. "We are very excited to be able to share this benefit with our employees. We want them to know we value family and the very important early months with their children," said Elkins. He also cited European nations where the leave often goes for up to two years and applies to everyone—not just police, firefighters and others on the municipal payroll.

They thought of everything when drafting the ordinance. The leave applies to any city worker who becomes a new parent—birth mother and father, same-sex domestic partner of the birth mother, same-sex domestic partner of the birth father, an adoptive mother or father, or a same-sex domestic partner of an adoptive mother or father.

Not eligible under the ordinance are surrogate mothers and sperm donors, and also the mayor or members of the city council (in case you were suspecting shenanigans, don't).

The leave has to be taken in the first 12 months of the baby's life, but does not have to be taken continuously.

So long, so flexible. Perhaps a model for the rest of the U.S.

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