Jeramey Jannene
City Hall

Dimitrijevic Wants Paid Parental Leave For City Employees

"If Washington won’t act we will," says alderwoman of her proposal.

By - Nov 16th, 2021 08:54 pm
Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, husband Eduardo Jaime and family. Image from the candidate.

Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic, husband Eduardo Jaime and family. Image from the candidate.

City of Milwaukee employees would receive 12 weeks of paid parental leave following the birth of a child under a new proposal from alderwoman and mayoral candidate Marina Dimitrijevic.

“As the mother of two toddlers, it wasn’t long ago that I experienced the challenges of childbirth and raising a newborn. I know how critical this time is for a child’s development, a mother’s healing, and a family’s opportunity to bond – that’s why a paid parental leave policy is long overdue in Milwaukee,” said the alderwoman in a statement announcing the proposal.

The proposal would apply to all general city employees, regardless of gender. Dimitrijevic intends to formally introduce the legislation on Wednesday.

“But this is just the beginning. By setting a high standard locally, we can also increase pressure for a federal paid leave policy to give every new parent in America the same opportunity. Until the federal government makes paid leave a priority, we need to take bold action at the local level to help families succeed,” she said.

The city currently does not have a paid leave policy, requiring employees to take either unpaid leave or utilize sick days and vacation time. The federal government currently provides 12 weeks of paid leave for its parents.

The new plan would cover births (including surrogacy), adoptions, the start of foster care and a stillbirth after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Dimitrijevic said the final language could include miscarriages.

“This plan is a bold investment in Milwaukee’s future that will give children their best chance to succeed. It’s a critical tool for reducing inequality and improving health outcomes for everyone in our city,” she said.

The City of Madison has a six-week leave policy for its employees. Dimitrijevic billed her proposal as “worst to first” change.

“The idea is to have one of the best policies around for local governments,” said Dimitrijevic in an interview.

The program would go into effect on April 1. It would not apply to private businesses or organizations in Milwaukee. “We have to get our own house in order,” said the alderwoman.

It would not directly add a cost to the city as employees are already budgeted to be paid. But it could indirectly cost money through employees retaining more vacation time or the need for potential overtime in certain roles

“People are already taking parental leave, they have just not been properly compensated,” said Dimitrijevic.

She said it would help the city compete to hire and retain workers.

“We are in such a crisis right now, as is the whole nation,” said Dimitrijevic of employees changing jobs and a labor shortage. “We need to be able to recruit the best and most diverse and these policies matter.”

In a mayoral campaign fundraising email, she noted that the U.S. is one of only six countries in the world that doesn’t offer any form of paid leave. A proposal to provide it from the federal level, included in President Joe Biden‘s Build Better Back proposal, was stripped before the bill was passed.

The alderwoman, during the debate over what to do with federal American Rescue Plan Act funds, also successfully championed a proposal aimed at expanding and subsidizing Milwaukee child care providers.

“We have to set people up for success,” said Dimitrijevic.

Categories: Health, Politics, Weekly

7 thoughts on “City Hall: Dimitrijevic Wants Paid Parental Leave For City Employees”

  1. Ryan Cotic says:

    Holefully she puts her money where her mouth is and dontates her salary to help fund this new government mandate. She seems like she is part of the government swamp we need to vote out of office.


    Ryan- Did you read the article? This doesn’t add additional costs because the posituions are fully funded.


    Ryan, Did you read the article. There are no additional costs associated with this because the positions are fully funded.

  4. hillard says:

    It is not a mandate, it is a benefit that only applies to City employees. The State preempts the City from requiring parental leave of anyone else.

  5. gerrybroderick says:

    Now there’s a typically incisive response from the fringe.

  6. NieWiederKrieg says:

    “This plan is a bold investment in Milwaukee’s future that will give children their best chance to succeed. It’s a critical tool for reducing inequality and improving health outcomes for everyone in our city,” Dimitrijevic said…

    The biggest problem with Dimitrijevic’s statement is that the City of Milwaukee continues to hire large numbers of employees that do not live in the City of Milwaukee, in addition to the large number of employees that have moved out of the City of Milwaukee, and continue to move out of the city….

    Dimitrijevic’s plan will be a great benefit for Wauwatosa, Brookfield, Waukesha, Delafield, Cedarburg, West Bend, Oconomowoc, River Hills, Port Washington, Erin, Jackson, Thiensville, Sussex, Richfield, Hubertus, Slinger, Kewaskum, Mequon, Oak Creek, Hales Corners, West Allis, etc… rather than the City of Milwaukee…

  7. 45 years in the City says:

    A noble proposal, but with the city approaching a fiscal cliff while its hands are tied for purposes of new revenue, it is not a practical proposal. This needs to be done at the state level or federal level to be effective. Regretfully that is unlikely to happen in the current political environment.

    Ald. Dimitrijevic, while well intentioned, seems to have a poor understanding of fiscal realities and unintended consequences. As a county supervisor, she was a supporter of the free MCTS Go Pass which blew a hole in the MCTS budget.

    The previous comment about non-city residents benefiting from city tax payers’ largess is a good example of unintended consequences which Ald. Dimitrijevic doesn’t seem to grasp.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us