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Travis County employees will soon be eligible for paid family leave

The Travis County Courthouse in downtown Austin
Gabriel C. Pérez
/
KUT
Travis County commissioners voted to expand paid parental leave for qualifying employees Tuesday.

Lee esta historia en español.

Travis County commissioners unanimously approved a policy to expand paid family leave to eight weeks for all workers who have been employed with the county for six months.

County staff will now iron out the details, with a goal of launching the leave program next month. The policy applies to new parents following childbirth and people who adopt.

The county is one of the largest employers in the Austin area.

The county historically has offered unpaid leave, per federal guidelines. To get paid, workers were using disability leave, Precinct One Commissioner Jeff Travillion said ahead of Tuesday's vote. That pushed him to want to change the policy.

"We have to make sure that we are doing the things that we can do, and we understand the policies and procedures that are in place — and we are as generous to employees as we can be. And I think that’s just a practical thing," said Travillion, who sponsored the resolution with County Judge Andy Brown. "We should not be addressing these issues through a disability policy, because pregnancy is not a disability."

Commissioners debated whether the policy should be six or 12 weeks, before ultimately deciding on eight.

The City of Austin approved a six-week paid leave policy in 2013.

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