Both state and county consider paid family leave

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – If passed, House Bill 4189, also called the “Parental Leave Act” would make West Virginia the 11th state to offer paid family leave for all public employees. The Kanawha County Commission is proposing its own policy to do the same.

Bill sponsors, Delegate Moore Capito (R – Kanawha) and Delegate Eric Nelson (R – Kanawha) say it’s designed to attract people to West Virginia who wants to live a balanced life between work and family.

“So you have two parents in the workforce now more than ever and in West Virginia, we want to encourage that, I mean we have the lowest workforce participation rate in the country and so we want to promote and provide opportunities and benefits for our citizens to want to enter the workforce and we want to tell them that we’re there for you when you need to put your family first,” said Del. Capito.

Current state law allows public employees to take 12 weeks of unpaid family leave after using up all other forms of paid leave, and this is not just for new moms and dads but for newly adoptive and foster parents and those caring for seriously ill family members.

On the county level, the Kanawha County Commission plans to introduce a similar proposal.

Kanawha County Commissioner, Ben Salango said, “no employee should have to worry about whether they’re getting paid to take care of a child, so this new policy reflects Kanawha County’s commitment to our employees, to children and to families.”

Both acts come on the heels of Congress passing paid family leave for all federal workers back in December. HB 4189 goes to the House Judiciary Committee for review, and the Kanawha County Commission plans to discuss and possibly vote on its proposal Thursday, January 16th, 2020.

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