Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates Kirk Cox (R-66) has announced the implementation of a new paid parental leave policy for employees of the House of Delegates, according to a press release from his office. In December, Speaker Cox stated he would initiate plans for the Clerk of the House of Delegates to craft a modernized policy to would allow employees of the House to attain paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child.

The new policy, which is substantially more generous than was previously, is located in the Virginia Sickness and Disability Handbook. Before the implementation, employees were required to use personal leave days, which were accrued at their discretion, for parental leave. Furthermore, employees could utilize a shirt-term disability policy; however, it paid only a percentage of the employee’s normal income for up to 125 days.

“I am happy to announce that as of today, the policy crafted by the Clerk and his staff has been fully implemented. There is nothing more important to a family than those first few months at home as they welcome and share joyous moments with their new child. As I said in December, I believe leading by example is a better approach than burdensome mandates and hope Virginia businesses will take this positive, family-friendly step.”

Employees of the House Clerk’s Office will now receive a maximum of 12 weeks paid leave for parents of newly-born children or adopted children. Each week an employee is on leave they will receive 100 percent of their regular pay.

The requirements under the new policy are that the individual must be a full-time employee of the House Clerk’s Office, have given birth to a child or be the spouse of a woman who has given birth to a child, have adopted a child or been placed with a child in foster care that is 17 years old or younger. The adoption of a child by a new spouse is excluded from this policy. As well, if both parents are employees, only one may access the paid benefits of this policy.

Speaker Cox added, “I appreciate the work of the House Clerk’s Office. They implemented a comprehensive human resources policy in a matter of weeks, and should be applauded for their efforts.” Offering this solution is an outstanding premise that allows working mothers to be exactly that – working mothers.