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Gov. Little signs executive order giving state employees 8 weeks paid parental leave

"Parents and children need to be together as much as possible in the weeks following a birth or adoption," Little said.

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed the Families First Act into law Wednesday.

It guarantees that eligible state employees of Idaho's executive branch are guaranteed paid leave for eight weeks following the birth or adoption of a child.

"Idaho is a state that encourages strong families as the bedrock of our society," Gov. Little said. "Parents and children need to be together as much as possible in the weeks following a birth or adoption. Children benefit, parents benefit, and the state benefits when we support a culture that balances the demands of work with the demands of family."

The executive order directs the Division of Human Resources to issue the new policy effective July 1, 2020. 

The order applies only to the 25,000 workers in the executive branch. 

In the last three years, the executive branch has seen about 450 births annually involving an employee or the spouse of an employee.  

State employees already can take up to 12 weeks of leave following the birth or adoption of a child, but the leave is only paid if the employee has enough sick or vacation hours to cover the leave period. The change assures that parents can take eight weeks of paid leave without tapping into their accrued sick or vacation hours.

"Flexibility and family-supportive policies are essential to recruiting and retaining a state workforce that is productive and engaged," Little added.

The fiscal impact to the state is expect to be minimal.

The executive order also encourages other state elected officials, independent commissions, the Legislature, and the judiciary to adopt similar policies for their employees.

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