Senator Jessica Garvin praises Senate passage of paid maternity leave for state employees

Wednesday, 24 May 2023 14:21

Senator Jessica Garvin praises Senate passage of paid maternity leave for state employees Featured

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Senator Jessica Garvin praises Senate passage of paid maternity leave for state employees oksenate.gov

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Senate approved Senate Bill 16X during special session Wednesday to provide six weeks of paid maternity leave for Oklahoma’s full-time state employees following the birth or adoption of a child. Sen. Jessica Garvin, R-Duncan, introduced the reform at the beginning of the 2023 session and praised her Senate colleagues for supporting the pro-family policy.

“Women are leaving the workforce at alarming rates across the country, and this is just one more incentive to help recruit and retain highly qualified employees to state agencies, so we can improve government efficiency,” Garvin said. “State employees are drastically underpaid compared to the private sector. I know there are a lot of private sector employees who are already receiving this benefit, so this will help the state be more competitive.”The benefit would be available to state employees who have been on the job for at least two years. Employees would not be required to use their accrued leave for the initial six-week period but could request to use such leave for any additional time off needed up to the 12 weeks provided under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).Oklahoma currently has nearly 31,500 state employees, and over 59% are women and more than 40% of the state’s workforce are of the age to have children.  Employee turnover costs Oklahoma an estimated $110 million a year, and a majority of those leaving are women.“As a Republican, we always talk about being pro-life, and this is part of that. We’ve got to support families during and after birth,” Garvin said. “We need to surround them and provide all the support and assistance we can, especially for women who suffer from things like postpartum depression. Those six weeks at home with the baby are imperative to the long-term health of the child and mom, and I’m extremely grateful for the Senate’s support of this important family and workforce development reform.”Rep. Nick Archer, R-Elk City, has worked with Garvin to get the reform through the Legislature, and was the principal House author of her original state employee maternity leave measure, SB 193.“I’m proud to carry this torch with Senator Garvin,” Archer said. “This bill empowers mothers and families, while strengthening our workforce.”SB 16X now goes to the House for consideration.

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