Why Dayton, Ohio, Took the Lead On Leave

Like cities across the country, the makeup Dayton’s workforce has changed substantially in the past few decades. We have a younger workforce with a greater focus on a life that balances work and home. And yet, America is one of the few countries in the world without guaranteed paid leave for working families.

Paid parental leave is not only the right thing to do, but it strengthens women and families, reduces gender based economic disparities, has positive impacts on local economies, and improves health outcomes such as increasing infant immunization and decreasing infant mortality rates. We also see that employees who feel supported and valued, show increased productivity and commitment to the job.


In Ohio, women now make up nearly half of the state’s labor force. Despite this, many of our workforce policies have not kept up with our demographics. More often than not, our employees are faced with difficult choices as it relates to starting or expanding their family. Antiquated policies can make women feel as if they need to choose between continuing with their employment and caring for their new child. Spouses have an equally difficult decision as they arrange time to care for their newest family member and spouse.

Every day we ask our city team to go above and beyond to ensure that our community, neighbors and surrounding region remain a good place to live, work and raise a family. As Mayor, I believe that it is our duty to provide a work culture that supports our greatest assets – our employees. This is why we have announced a new paid parental leave policy for our nearly two thousand employees. Dayton is the first major city in Ohio to offer this type of leave policy. It is fitting that the announcement coincided with Women’s Equality Day, which celebrated the 95th anniversary of when American women won the right to vote.

Highlights of Dayton’s new Paid Parental Leave Program beginning August 26, 2015

Parental Leave: Six (6) weeks or 42 consecutive calendar days of leave immediately following the birth or adoption of the child. After a 14 day waiting period following the birth or adoption, the City will provide 28 days of parental leave at 70% of salary which can be supplemented with an employee’s accrued leave for full compensation.

Who may receive Parental Leave: Any permanent full or part-time employee who is the biological parent of a newly born child and/or legal guardian of a newly adopted child. The employee must reside in the same household as the newly adopted child.

I am proud to lead an organization that values its employees and their families. This new policy will allow us to better support our employees and alleviate the stress workers face during one of the most incredible times of their live—parenthood. I urge my fellow Mayors to follow Dayton’s lead and adopt a similar policy in their city. Because when our working families succeed, America succeeds.

Read more about mayors who have taken the #LeadOnLeave and lead on the President’s top priorities here.

Nan Whaley is the mayor of Dayton, Ohio.

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