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Paid parental leave is coming to Montgomery County staff, the first suburban area in Southeastern Pa. to adopt it

Starting Feb. 1, Montgomery County will become the first suburban county in southeastern Pennsylvania to implement paid parental leave.

Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.
Dr. Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the Montgomery County Board of Commissioners.Read moreMICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer

Montgomery County has approved a parental-leave policy for its full-time nonunion employees, making it the first suburban county in Southeastern Pennsylvania to do so, officials said.

Starting Feb. 1, the policy offers up to six weeks of paid parental leave to new mothers and fathers immediately after they have a biological child or a child through adoption, guardianship, or foster care placement, the county announced. The six weeks may be used at once or in bursts during the first year that a parent has a new child.

Paid-parental leave would run at the same time as the Family and Medical Leave Act, the county said. It would provide new parents with six weeks of paid leave and another six weeks of unpaid leave.

Valerie Arkoosh, chair of the county’s Board of Commissioners, said officials believe the new policy will increase morale and decrease turnover.

The policy is open only to employees who are not part of a union or bargaining unit, the county said in announcing the plan. Currently, the county has 673 union employees and 1,817 nonunion workers, said spokesperson John Corcoran. At some point, he said, the county could consider negotiating to incorporate the paid parental-leave policy in union contracts.

The policy was estimated to cost Montgomery County around $325,000 a year, much less than 1 percent of the county’s total payroll of $131.3 million, Corcoran said.

“We think it’s good value," he said.