Graham Kilmer
MKE County

County Set to Pass Paid Family Leave

8 weeks paid leave for employees has support of board and county executive.

By - Mar 23rd, 2022 04:31 pm

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Sulfur at English Wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Milwaukee County Courthouse. Photo by Sulfur at English Wikipedia (GFDL) or (CC-BY-SA-3.0), via Wikimedia Commons

The Milwaukee County Board is moving to provide eight weeks of paid parental leave for all county employees.

The measure will likely pass, as it received unanimous approval from the board’s Finance Committee and a majority of supervisors are already co-sponsors of the resolution. County Executive David Crowley has also already given his support to the proposal.

The legislation, sponsored by Supervisors Liz Sumner and Ryan Clancy, would give eight weeks paid leave annually to county employees working 20 hours or more a week for the birth of a child, or for families that have taken in a child through adoption, fostering, guardianship or acting as a parent.

It also offers three weeks paid leave following a miscarriage or stillbirth, and two additional weeks if there are complications with the pregnancy or birth that cause incapacity or other serious health conditions.

“At its core this resolution is an investment in the health, happiness and retention of our many Milwaukee County employees,” said Sup. Sumner. “The research on this is clear, offering paid leave is a win for parents, kids and for our employers.”

Paid leave allows parents to bond with children, and that time is beneficial for child development, Sumner said. The supervisor also called the policy “equity in action” because Black workers and other workers of color statistically have less access to paid parental leave. She said the legislation would create an “accessible leave policy that yields a welcoming environment for all our employees.”

“We should be providing paid leave,” Clancy said. “It’s not just a powerful experience, but because the data shows that outcomes are better for parents and their children, and frankly for employers when families have this important time together.”

“Being a mother, you think about paid maternity and paternity leave,” said Sup. Sequanna Taylor. “It is something that’s great and needed for our babies and our young people.”

Christina Thor, Wisconsin State Director for 9to5, spoke in favor of the legislation and cited research on the lack of paid parental leave in the state and the U.S.

She said that 100 million Americans don’t have access to paid parental leave, and that 1 in 4 women return to work within 10 days of giving birth; and less than 1 in 4 men have access to paid parental leave.

Ellen Bravo, an advocate who works on this issue, also spoke at committee, noting that many people take vacation and sick days to have time with new children. “Any of us who’s a parent knows it’s a joy to have a child, but it certainly isn’t a vacation.”

Bravo applauded the eight weeks of leave in the proposal, but asked supervisors to consider extending the leave after a year to 12 weeks, noting this is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatricians.

Sup. Sumner thanked a number of county officials that worked with her on the policy, including staff doing research, the comptroller’s office, the Office of Corporation Counsel, the county executive and Chairwoman Marcelia Nicholson. She also thanked former county supervisors and current City of Milwaukee Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic for leading on this effort and passing a paid family leave policy for city employees earlier this year.

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Categories: Health, MKE County

2 thoughts on “MKE County: County Set to Pass Paid Family Leave”

  1. Ryan Cotic says:

    So the county is in the verge of a pension cliff partially due to corruption passed by Ament years ago which may require the county to cut back on the workforce by 25 percent? But yet they are passing more unfunded mandates for county employees? Does this make any sense from a fiscal standpoint after we have been hearing about the pension cliff for 3 years?

  2. Jeramey Jannene says:

    @Ryan – The city, not the county, faces the upcoming pension cliff.

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