Mayor Rahm Emanuel is bringing Chicago "into the 21st century" when it comes to maternity leave for city workers.
Emanuel on Wednesday announced non-represented Chicago employees will get four weeks paid time off as part of the city's first-ever maternity leave policy. Partners and spouses will get one week, adoptive parents get two weeks, and mothers having a C-section get six weeks.
More than 10,000 females who work for the city are currently forced to use sick days, vacation days and unpaid family leave to take time off during and after a pregnancy.
“Implementing the City’s first maternity leave policy and reforming our vacation leave policies brings our City government into the 21st century," said Emanuel in a statement, "while increasing efficiency and reducing costs to the people of Chicago."
In a July 1 memo to Human Resources Commissioner Soo Choi, Emanuel's chief of staff wrote that the maternity leave policy must be reviewed.
"That is the right policy, both for the employer and the employee," Emanuel said in July. "And I can say this as a father, but also as the son of a pediatrician, it's also the right policy for the children."
The mayor also proposed a reform to the vacation leave pay enjoyed by non-represented employees.
Under the new policy, Emanuel said employees will only be allowed to carry over five vacation days from one year to the next. The move will "significantly" scale back compensation for unused vacation time, he said.
Changing the vacation policy requires approval from the Chicago City Council.