Idaho Governor Brad Little issued an executive order Wednesday establishing eight weeks of guaranteed paid leave for eligible employees of Idaho’s executive branch agencies following the birth or adoption of a child.

“Idaho is a state that encourages strong families as the bedrock of our society,” 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 Families First Act directs the Division of Human Resources to issue a policy effective July 1, 2020, that offers the separate benefit to mothers and fathers employed by executive branch agencies.

State employees already are allowed to take up to 12 weeks of leave following the birth or adoption of a child and keep their jobs under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, but the leave currently is only paid if the employee has accrued enough sick and vacation hours to cover the leave period. The new benefit assures parents they can take eight weeks of paid leave without having to tap 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,” Governor Little added.

The fiscal impact is expected to be minimal because agencies will use existing personnel dollars to cover the benefit.

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

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