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City Council Passes Rental Registration, Paid Parental Leave

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

A debate over two Austin City Council proposals to track problem rental properties continued into the early hours of the morning.

After hearing from many Austinites about the issue, council members voted unanimously to pass an effort to create a registry for properties with a history of violations. A similar move to track all rental properties in certain parts of the city passed 5 to 2.

City employees will soon be able to take 30 days of paid parental leave.

Austin City Council members unanimously approved the policy Thursday. It will benefit workers who have a newborn or have just adopted.

Details of the new policy are still being worked out. The original proposal requires employees to use all of their accrued paid leave before the 30 days.

Council Member Mike Martinez expressed some concern about that requirement.

"If we keep it in its current form to where you can only use it if your sick leave is exhausted, my fear is that we are adopting a policy that is encouraging something we really don't want to do," Martinez said. "And I realize there will be different financial implications. I just would like for us to have those options available."

A different version of the policy could extend it to public safety employees. As of now, they are not included.

The council says it would like to have the full policy in place by Oct. 1.

According to an article from the Center for American Progress, which is linked on the council's "Agenda" page, as of March 2013, the United States was the only member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) that did not guarantee mothers any paid time from work after the birth of a new baby. The article also states that the U.S. is one of only four nations in the world – next to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Papua New Guinea – where workers do not have the right to paid maternity leave. 

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