VERIFY: Paid parental leave not offered in many Central Ga. cities, counties

Verify: Family leave policies in Central Ga.

Warner Robins City Council passed the first maternity, paternity, and adoptive parent leave policy in its history Monday night.

WMAZ set out to verify just how unique Warner Robins' new paid parental leave policy is compared to other governments in Central Georgia.

Jacob Reynolds spent the day on the phone with governments across Central Georgia.

WMAZ was able to verify it's the only one of its kind in the more than a dozen Central Georgia counties and cities checked.

Megan Jackson is a Houston County mother of three.

She says when she had her first kid, while working as a Houston County teacher, using up sick days was a struggle.

“Well it was definitely difficult when she possibly got sick or anything like that that I wasn't able to stay home with her if need be. But, you can always take it and they dock your pay or whatever,” Jackson said.

Warner Robins changed their policy so moms who work for the city don't have to do that. Now, parents will have the option for paid maternity, paternity, and adoptive leave.

But, according to calls WMAZ made across several Central Georgia counties, WMAZ was able to verify that they are the only government locally to offer that type of policy.

The counties of Houston, Jones, Macon-Bibb, Monroe, Laurens, Baldwin, Peach, and Twiggs said they did not have set policies.

The cities of Milledgeville, Forsyth, Dublin, Perry, Jeffersonville, Danville, Gray, Fort Valley, and Byron also all told WMAZ they did not have paid parental leave policies either.

A majority of those cities and counties told WMAZ expectant mothers were able to use sick days, vacation days, or short term disability insurance to help cover time out due to childbirth.

Jackson said it's sad to hear.  

“I think it's horrible because moms need to be able to have time at home to adjust to parenthood and to have that bonding time with their children, and not feel guilty and have the ability to do it without losing pay. They have to be able to survive,” Jackson said.

Jackson said she thinks the United States as a whole needs better family leave policies.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 14% of civilian workers in the country get access to paid family leave.

The city of Centerville did not get back to us Tuesday about their policies. 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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