JACKSON COUNTY, Mo. — For Jackson County employees, it might be a good time to have a baby.
County Executive Frank White Jr. announced Wednesday they will offer 12 weeks of paid leave for both mothers and fathers.
“Being there, providing for those who you love is not negotiable,” White said. “Every child deserves to be cared for when they need it.”
White enacted the policy by singing an executive order on the steps of the courthouse.
“It applies to all full-time eligible associates no matter their job, their salary, their race or sexual orientation,” White said. “It allows every parent or caregiver to have the time they need to bond, care and recover.”
Parents can use the time to bond with their newly born or adopted child. White said the time can be used all at once or intermittently.
The county worked with the Women’s Foundation to come up with the plan. President & CEO Wendy Doyle spoke at Wednesday’s press conference.
“No one should have to chose between caring for a child or paying the bills,” Doyle said. “We are elated to see this issue being prioritized in Jackson County.”
The county touts this as the most progressive plan in the state of Missouri. In 2018, Kansas City, Missouri, gave its full time employees seven weeks of paid parental leave.
In Platte County, employees get 12 weeks of unpaid leave, and Clay County offers the same to employees who’ve been with the county longer than a year.
On the other side of the state line in Kansas, Johnson County offers four weeks of 80% of the employee’s salary. Overland Park offers 12 weeks unpaid leave to their employees.
Matt Davis works as a project manager for the Jackson County Parks & Recreation and has two young children.
“It just feels very special,” Davis said. “I feel like it’s a benefit that a lot of other people across this country don’t have. So to be able to have that as an associate of Jackson County, I feel very lucky. I feel a lot of gratitude. To have that time with my family is incredibly special.”
White said the goal is not only to give parents time with their kids, but to also give incentives to help retain employees over time.