Palm Beach County one step closer to approving paid parental leave for employees

Posted at 8:05 PM, Mar 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-14 21:33:14-04

Palm Beach County Commissioners took the first step toward granting employees paid time off to stay with a new baby or adopted child.

The estimate that it would cost taxpayers is about $195,000.

It’s Theo’s big blue eyes and full head of hair, that dad Joseph Sophie falls into every time he sees his son. 
“It's one of joy,” said Sophie. “I can't believe I helped create him.”
Theo is 10-weeks-old. A New Years Eve baby. Sophie spent the first two weeks home with Theo on paid sick leave from his job with Palm Beach County. 
“It was important for me to come back to work in order to be able to pay both my bills and her bills,” explained Sophie. “I went back sooner than I would have preferred.”
That could change for new dads like Joseph. County leaders are one step closer to approving six weeks of parental leave for county employees at 100 percent of their pay.

Commissioner Melissa McKinlay is passionate about the proposal. “If we have the ability to fund $600,000 for some office furniture today, surely $195,000 to help employees to be able to be home with their children is the right thing to do,” said McKinlay during today’s county commission meeting.
And if passed, a benefit that would make a big difference for Sophie. “Allowing me to have more time to bond, to help develop the routine and then take some of the stress off my wife,” he explained.
County commissioners are expected to approve the proposal in the next month to six weeks.

The benefit is already in place for government employees in West Palm Beach and Wellington.