On the second attempt this year, Warner Robins has a new parental leave policy.
Jacob Reynolds was at Monday night’s City Council meeting and talked with supporters of the policy about why they said Monday was a great day for the city.
In a moment that drew audible gasps from the crowd, the City Council of Warner Robins unanimously approved the city's first parental and family leave policy.
The '4/1/1 Policy' is the International City's second attempt at creating paid parental leave this year.
An earlier maternity leave policy proposal was struck down in a 3-2 vote against in early February.
Councilman Chuck Shaheen said the second time around was better.
“I think God makes it a better way, and I think this was a better way to do it. And I like it better. We could have always done this from the beginning, but this way we were able to bring other parties in and we learned more,” Shaheen said after the meeting.
The new policy provides a maximum of four weeks paid maternity leave, one week of paid paternity leave, and one week of paid adoptive leave. The first proposal back in February only provided maternity leave.
Macon resident and policy supporter Lynn Snyder said it's a start.
“We have to start somewhere, and if we start local maybe we can grow into a national plan for paid maternity leave. It would be a wonderful thing,” Snyder said.
Snyder and Amber Schmidtke are members of the group, Georgia Women. They were one of three groups that publicly supported the policy. The Houston County Branch of the NAACP and the Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta supported the policy as well.
Representatives from all three groups presented their public support for the policy at the pre-council meeting on Monday night.
Schmidtke said she was shocked it passed unanimously.
“I mean, this is incredible. I mean what you're looking at is six individuals who put aside their differences and voted 'yes' for the betterment of their employees. That's incredible,” Schmidtke said after the meeting.
And for city leaders, they said it was a good day at the office.
“Today was a great day for the City of Warner Robins,” Shaheen said with a smile.
The Georgia Women said one of their next goals could be pushing a similar policy in Macon-Bibb County.
The City of Warner Robins did not have a maternity or parental leave policy in place before Monday night’s meeting.
At Monday night’s meeting the Council also heard from Elijah Lewis. Lewis is pushing for the Council to add a non-binding referendum to this month’s SPLOST election that would allow city residents to have chickens. Since the referendum would be non-binding, Lewis said the vote would act as a survey to see if there was support for the measure.
Representatives from Wellston Park also came to the pre-council meeting and requested more money for the project. They said their projected grand opening would be June 1st, but they say they need more than $100,000.