Dec 23, 2015 03:00 PM EST

New York City Will Offer A Generous Benefit That Most Companies Do Not

Unlike some cities in America, New York will offer 6 weeks of parental paid leaves starting January 1 of next year. The lucky government employees will enjoy six weeks of fully paid time for maternity, paternity, adoption or foster-care reasons.

As Business Insider reports, only 12 percent of employers offer paid parental leave in the United States according to the Society for Human Resource Management. Sadly, the public sector has even less.

Currently, federal employees have no guarantee of paid leave after birth or adoption of a child. Although earlier on, a bill was submitted before the congress to offer the benefit to more employees.

Austin and Pittsburgh are the only cities that currently offer six weeks of paid parental leave to its employees. Portland is planning to offer 6,000 employees the same benefit next year.

New York is reported to follow suit as Mayor bill De Blasio announced on Tuesday the new paid parental leave policy for New York City employees. This benefit provides six weeks of paid time offs and this can be added with existing benefits like accrued sick time and vacation time with maximum of 12 paid weeks.

A report from the International Labor Organization reveals that the U.S. is currently the only developed nation in the world that doesn't secure any paid time off for new parents. The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) of 1993 states that companies with at least 50 employees must be allowed to take 12 weeks off from work after the birth of a child. However, this time off is not necessarily paid.

With this, most parents are forced to return to work early, else suffer from financial constraints. In a 2012 report from the US Department of Labor on family and medical leave, around 15 percent who were not or partially paid while away turned to public assistance for help. Almost 60 percent admitted difficulty in making ends meet while on leave.

The current policy covers managers and nonunionized workers only. Blasio hopes to talk with municipal unions about extending the policy to covered employees.

Executive director of Family Values @ Work, Ellen Bravo, commends the mayor for the policy and hopes it will encourage New York to join other states in offering paid family-leave insurance program.

Come January 1, 2016, New York City will add 20,000 city employees to enjoy the 6 weeks paid-parental leave benefit.

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