Mult. Co. to give new parents 6 weeks paid time off

Multnomah County officials say the decision is a fiscal one

Ivan Flores Huerta holds Autumn Evans, his girlfriend's infant daughter who came home for good that day. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
Ivan Flores Huerta holds Autumn Evans, his girlfriend's infant daughter who came home for good that day. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As of Nov. 1, new parents who are employed by Multnomah County will receive six weeks of paid time off.

Chair Deborah Kafoury said the decision is fiscally responsible.

“There are many, many businesses, big companies such as Nike, smaller local companies such as Laughing Planet that offer this same benefit to their employees because they know it makes good financial sense,” Kafoury said.

Kafoury, a mother of three, said she understands the stress many new parents have.

“It’s especially stressful if you’re worried about coming back to work and you have to come back to work because you can’t afford to stay home,” Kafoury said.

When asked about increased workloads for other employees or department who may have to back fill positions for essential services, like the Sheriff’s Office, Kafoury said there shouldn’t be a significant impact.

“We don’t think it’s going to be an undue burden on any particular agency or department,” Kafoury said.

State and federal law mandates that most employers provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid parenting time. A spokesperson for the county said the decision to move forward with the paid time off for new parents is also a recruiting and retention tool.

Dave Austin said that there are nearly 400 employees working for the county who are in their 20s. He said it’s important that the county offer attractive benefits to keep those employees satisfied.

“It’s not going to be a huge financial hit,” Kafoury said regarding the cost to the county.

Kafoury said that the City of Portland and METRO are both looking into similar policies.

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