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Georgia House votes to double paid time off for state employees


(The Center Square) — The Georgia House approved a measure to double the amount of parental leave for state employees.

Under current law, state employees can take three weeks or 120 hours of paid parental leave during a 12-month “rolling” period following a child’s birth, adoption or foster care placement. House Bill 1010 would increase the paid leave to six weeks or 240 hours.

The House voted 153-11 to pass the bill and send it to the state Senate. A House spokesman confirmed to The Center Square that state officials believe the cost to taxpayers is “negligible.”

“The House first passed this initiative in 2021 to create paid parental leave for our state workers,” House Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, said in a statement. By passing the bill, “we are taking another step so that these employees can spend even more time with their families after having or adopting a child.

“Our state employees work tirelessly to serve our communities, and with this legislation, we have sent a clear message that we value and support our working families across this state,” Burns added. “It’s crucial that we support them in both their professional and personal lives and this expansion of benefits demonstrates our commitment to ensuring a healthy work-life balance and recognizing the importance of family.”

State Rep. Karen Bennett, D-Stone Mountain, said the bill was a great start and was “hopeful … about the prospect of continuing to expand parental leave beyond just state employees and beyond what we have right now.”

“But this is … a great first start, and I am just so excited about it,” Bennett said during the House floor debate. “So, I hope that this bill will continue to have a domino effect as we continue to support our families of all kinds in the state of Georgia.”