King County employees will get 12 weeks paid parental leave

SEATTLE - Starting in 2016, King County employees who welcome a new child will have 12 weeks of paid leave to stay home with their families. On Monday, the King County Council approved the legislation, called a "landmark action" by Council Vice Chair Jane Hague, who co-sponsored the ordinance.

"Providing access to paid parental leave is a vital step toward improving economic security for our families, our communities, and our economy," said MomsRising Executive Director, Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, in a news release.

The measure creates a one-year pilot project providing paid parental leave for non-union and union county employees, provided the union has agreed to the terms of the program. Eligible employees include mothers and fathers who have welcomed the birth of a child, adopted a child or will become a foster-to-adopt parent.

During the 12 week leave period, employees will receive regular pay, a perk unavailable under current federal, state and medical leave guidelines.

Microsoft, Amazon, the Gates Foundation and the City of Seattle have all increased paid leave for parents.