SANTA ANA, Calif. — Like most new parents, Eduardo and Maria Flores want to spend as much time as possible with their toddler, Matias.
“He likes to show people how to play with different toys. He loves reading,” Eduardo Flores said.
What You Need To Know
- Santa Ana recently became one of the first cities in Orange County to offer eligible employees paid parental leave
- Paul Eakins, a spokesperson for the city, says there are very few public agencies across the state that offer the benefit
- Studies have linked paid parental leave to a lower rate of infant mortality and postpartum depression among mothers
- Irvine also approved paid parental leave
Matias was born in April 2022.
“She was able to get a few months off, and I was only able to take three weeks,” said Eduardo Flores, who works for the City of Santa Ana.
That’s because public employees are exempt from paying into the State Disability Insurance fund. It’s the money typically used to cover paid leave for bonding time.
“If you wanna have paid leave, then it comes out of your own leave, and so I had to use my vacation time and some of the comp time I accrued,” he explained.
But that all changed when Santa Ana recently became one of the first cities in Orange County to offer eligible employees paid parental leave. The Flores’ were thrilled.
“Her eyes lit up because if it was up to her, we’d already have child number two,” Eduardo Flores said.
He is one of about 100 employees who will now receive up to eight weeks of paid parental leave through labor agreements.
Paul Eakins, a spokesperson for the city, says there are very few public agencies across the state that offer the benefit.
“Both the public and private sector, as you know right now, it’s a very competitive environment. We’ve been doing a lot to bring in new employees. We want to hire the best employees we can to serve the people of Santa Ana,” Eakins said.
“You create a bond, and I feel like that was missed out with the first baby, but now there’s opportunity for the next,” Maria Flores said.
Studies have linked paid parental leave to a lower rate of infant mortality and postpartum depression among mothers. The couple says the new policy allows them to plan sooner for a second child.
Eduardo Flores says in a competitive labor market, he thinks the move will help the city attract and retain employees.
“There’s a lot of labor challenges where we’re not getting enough people coming back to work or enough applicants for certain positions. I think this will definitely boost some of that,” he said.
With Irvine and Santa Ana approving paid parental leave, he hopes it encourages other public agencies to follow suit, giving more people a chance to savor the early days of parenthood.
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