Some good news for expecting moms and dads in Fort Valley -- Fort Valley passed a maternity leave policy. You might remember back in March, Warner Robins passed a policy for its city employees.
The city of Fort Valley is taking a hint from its neighbors and bringing a new policy for parents.
"It was something that Warner Robins had just passed. I was surprised that the city didn't have a paid maternity leave policy,” says Karin Vinson.
Following in Warner Robins footsteps, Fort Valley passed its own maternity, paternity, and adoption leave policy for employees on March 16th. That means mothers would get 4 weeks of paid leave, fathers would get 1 week and parents adopting a child would get 1 week of paid leave.
"The policy not only took care of you being able to physically be able to get back and shape to come back to work and not have to worry about that financial stress, but also the bonding, so that's why we did it for the fathers and also adoptive parents,” explains Vinson.
Even Fort Valley Police Chief Lawrence Spurgeon says it has really helped his male employees.
"A lot of times during the birth process, the men kind of feel left out. Of course, me being in the police department, I have mostly male employees and they really felt included, and that really gave them some buy-in to the whole policy,” says Chief Spurgeon.
Some people in Fort Valley say they wish the policy had been in place when their children were born, but they say they are glad to have it now.
"We didn't have that much of a leave, maybe a week if it was that, then you had to go back to work. Well, it's hard because newborns you have to adapt and to me it takes longer than a week to bond with your baby and things of that sort,” says Fort Valley resident Sharon Lewis.
Others in Fort Valley are happy that city leaders are now thinking about the fathers as well.
"It's awesome, too. Give them a chance to see how motherhood really is, about being a part of it from the very beginning,” says Anecia Davis.
City leaders say the new policy goes along with their motto, "where caring is a way of life." Fort Valley Administrator Karin Vinson says the city has gotten several emails saying they hope their areas will pass the maternity law as well.