LANSING, Mich. – Today marks the start of a new fiscal year within state government and along with the start of Fiscal Year 2021 comes a new and important benefit for nearly 49,000 employees that work for the State of Michigan. Paid parental leave for state employees begins today, providing eligible individuals up to 12 weeks of paid leave immediately following birth or adoption of a child.
“Our state employees embody the spirit of public service and they work hard every day to ensure that the 10 million residents across the state are getting the programs and services they need from their state government,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “As someone whose parents both worked in public service and who had both of my daughters while serving in the legislature, I know the type of commitment and dedication and family sacrifice required to get the job done, and I see that same commitment every day from our state workforce, which is why I am so pleased and happy to make this important new benefit available. The birth or adoption of a child requires time and effort at home, and state employees should rest assured that they will be able to take that time when they need it the most without having to worry about their paycheck.”
“Science and experience show us how important it is for parents to be present after welcoming a new child into their family,” said Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist II. “This is especially important for fathers, which is why I took leave when my daughter Ruby was born in 2019. This time is critical to the development of happier, healthier children and families, and I am proud that our administration is making this commitment to our workforce. These policies strengthen families, and I hope that employers across Michigan work to enact similar policies.”
The new letters of understanding and Civil Service regulation for paid parental leave taking effect today marks the first time a benefit of this type has been made available to the state government workforce. A career employee who is currently working and who has successfully completed an initial probationary period during the current employment period and worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months is eligible for a 12-week paid parental leave for the birth or placement by adoption of a child under the new policies.
The Office of State Employer worked in conjunction with state employee unions to develop Letters of Understanding for the implementation of paid parental leave. To qualify for the benefit, the employee must be a named parent on the child’s birth certificate or adoption papers, which must be presented within 31 days from the birth or adoption. Adoption of children related by blood or marriage or of a child over six years of age does not qualify for paid parental leave.
“I appreciate the strong working relationship we have with the state employee unions and I thank them for the work that they put into this process,” said Liza Estlund Olson, Director of the Office of State Employer. “This now gives state government a valuable new benefit to help attract and retain talent and make state government an even more appealing job opportunity for those in the job market.”
“The Paid Parental leave program supports families, helps attract a talented workforce, and reinforces one of our core values at EGLE: Investing in our team,” said Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy Director Liesl Clark. “State government continues to adapt and improve in ways that support Michigan workers and make state government an attractive place for young professionals to build careers.”
Before beginning a paid parental leave, the employee must give notice of the expected start and end date for the leave. A paid parental leave lasts up to 12 contiguous weeks. The leave begins on the date of the birth or adoption and ends, at most, 84 days later. An employee on paid parental leave may be absent from all regularly scheduled hours under the same conditions that would apply as if on paid sick leave. Paid holidays observed during paid parental leave are recorded as paid holidays and do not extend a 12-week paid parental leave.
“The proposal to provide paid parental leave for working parents is a great benefit for our members and their families,” said Ed Mitchell, President UAW Local 6000. “The benefit will allow working families to spend quality time with a newborn child or an adopted child. The benefit will greatly enhance family relationships and allow parents to bond with their newborn or adopted children without losing pay and benefits during the bonding period.”
“This is a terrific benefit for our members that we are excite to make available,” added Janice Cosey, President HHS Unit, SEIU 517M. “We are proud to work with Governor Whitmer to be a leader in providing a healthy start for our families who work hard every day for the citizens of Michigan.”
Employees will receive their base pay during paid parental leave, and the employee need not exhaust their already accrued sick and annual leave before taking a paid parental leave. Sick and annual leave time are accrued as usual during the paid parental leave. If two state employees are parents for the same birth or adoption, both may take a paid parental leave of 12 weeks. Births or adoptions before October 1, 2020, do not qualify for paid parental leave.
“With my first child, my time at home after the birth was limited and I feel like I missed some important milestones,” said Kelli Hower, a state employee and Human Resources Specialist with the Michigan Civil Service Commission. “I can’t tell you how much it means to me to be able to have this added benefit and be able to experience those early life moments that I otherwise would have missed out on.”
As part of the new budget now in place for Fiscal Year 2021, no additional temporary layoff days are planned for state employees, with no plans for a reduction in the workforce. The state hiring freeze and spending freeze remain in effect until further notice.