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City of Denton approves paid parental leave for employees

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City of Denton
The City of Denton has approved paid parental leave for city employees.

City of Denton employees are getting more time off when there's a new addition to the family.

Denton now provides six fully compensated weeks of paid parental leave to employees following the birth, adoption, or placement of a child.

Employees who qualify for Family Medical Leave Assistance are eligible to use paid leave. And they have three months to do that.

Denton is one of several Texas cities that is providing paid parental leave, in part to retain more employees.

Autumn Natalie has had three children while working for the city of Denton. She says balancing work and family isn't easy.

“I found myself making room and making space in my heart and my life, realizing that I was fulfilled by being a mom — and also my career! I wanted to keep both of those things,” Natalie said.

Natalie said she used her vacation days, sick time, and unpaid leave after each birth.  And she had to do a lot of saving in advance.

She said that she is thrilled that the City of Denton has expanded its benefits for employees.

Denton had looked at creating a paid parental leave policy before. In 2015, 2017 and 2019, the council tried and failed to pass a similar policy.

What changed?

Denton Mayor Gerard Hudspeth said that Denton has a different council and a new city manager. And, he said, the city wanted to be more competitive in a hot job market.

Hudspeth said he was a single father once and he understand that parents need support.

The funding for paid leave will come from the city's general budget. Hudspeth said that 70% of the general budget is dedicated to personnel.

“It’s the price of doing business,” Hudspeth said.

Stuart Birdseye raised two children while working with the City of Denton for almost nine years.

“You can’t get that first period of time with a child back ever…." Birdseye said. "So to know that you’re able to have that time to bond with them is outstanding."

Got a tip? Email Mya Nicholson at mnicholson@kera.org. Mya Nicholson reports for KERA's government accountability team. She studies broadcast journalism at the University of North Texas. KERA News is made possible through the generosity of our members. If you find this reporting valuable, consider making a tax-deductible gift today. Thank you.

Mya Nicholson reports for KERA News as an intern assigned to KERA's government accountability team. She studies broadcast journalism at the University of North Texas.