Utah Gets C- For Policies Benefiting New Parents
A new analysis from the National Partnership for Women & Families has given Utah a C- grade for policies that help new and expecting parents. The national non-partisan advocacy group says Utah lawmakers haven’t done enough for parents in the state with the highest birth rate.
Rep. Angela Romero (D-Salt Lake City) agrees. Earlier this year she ran a bill to provide state employees with six weeks paid parental leave. It didn’t pass, but she hopes with more research her colleagues in the legislature can be convinced to pass the bill next year.
“It all goes back to the dollar, and a lot opposition that I’ve received is concern about how much it’ll cost the state,” Romero says. “But for me, the cost is worth supporting families.”
The state-by-state analysis notes that earlier this year Utah lawmakers passed a bill to provide workplace accommodations for nursing mothers. Sen. Todd Weiler (R-Woods Cross) was the sponsor of that bill. He says paid parental leave is an issue that can put the rights of parents at odds with the rights of small businesses.
“I think as a policymaker I try to balance all of those and look for Utah solutions,” Weiler says. “I’m pretty comfortable with where we are right now.”
Currently state employees can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a new child.