Deseret News
FILE: Beginning this year, all full-time Salt Lake City employees will have access to six weeks of paid parental leave, Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced Thursday.

SALT LAKE CITY — Beginning this year, all full-time Salt Lake City employees will have access to six weeks of paid parental leave, Mayor Jackie Biskupski announced Thursday.

The new benefit adds Salt Lake City to a short list of about a dozen other municipalities in the U.S. that extend similar benefits to birth mothers, fathers and those who become parents through adoption or by foster care.

"I am proud that Salt Lake City continues to be an example of progress," Biskupski said in a news release. "It is my hope our leadership will propel other cities in our state to act and live up to our shared values by expanding parental leave to all families."

Before the policy change, only birth mothers were granted paid leave, depending on how long they had been working for the city.

Other municipalities that have adopted similar paid parental leave benefits include Portland, Oregon; King County, Washington; and Miami Beach, Florida.

Salt Lake City's new policy also allows employees to use their parental leave concurrently with 12 weeks of job security offered through the Federal and Medical Leave Act, city officials said.

"For years, extensive research has shown employee retention and workers' morale increases with work-life balance benefits like paid parental leave," said Salt Lake City Human Resources Director Julio Garcia. "I've been tasked by the mayor to update and create new HR policies that reflect our diverse workforce. Paid parental leave is still a rarity in many U.S. cities, and I'm happy to support policy that leads in this way."

Out of 185 countries listed by the International Labor Organization, the U.S. and Papua New Guinea are the only two countries that don't have a national law providing some form of paid parental leave.