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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan Announces New Family-Friendly Benefits for City Workforce

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City will provide paid parental leave and $15 minimum wage for all permanent and seasonal workers

City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of City of Akron Press Office
Published: 09-10-2021

Akron, Ohio, September 10, 2021Today, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan is announcing new policies for City of Akron employees designed to support and uplift working families.  The new policies include a $15 minimum wage for all full and part-time City workers, 6 weeks of paid parental leave and breastfeeding-friendly policies for all City workplaces.

“I firmly believe that every City job should pay a livable wage and offer a solid start toward a meaningful career,” Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said.  “That’s why we have been working throughout the last few years to develop a strategy to get all of our employees to that $15 an hour mark.  I’m proud to say that, beginning next month, all City jobs will pay $15 an hour or more from day one.” 

While most starting positions with the City pay well above $15 an hour, some positions paid lower hourly rates, particularly part-time positions within the Parks and Recreation Division.  With recent changes, effective October 3, all full- and part-time City workers (excluding interns) make $15 or more per hour.

“In addition to a livable wage, I also know that no new parent should be forced to choose between paying their bills or spending those critical first weeks with their newborn or adopted child,” Mayor Horrigan added.  “Stronger families create stronger communities. That’s why I am instituting paid parental leave for City employees. Parental leaves is an opportunity to bond, adjust to new family dynamics, and care for added physical and mental responsibilities of new parenthood. To attract and retain the best and brightest talent for City jobs, we must support each and every employee, their family, and their long term wellbeing. The message is simple: We Care.”

“Many families simply cannot afford parental leave if it means going without a paycheck,” Council President Margo Sommerville added. “I applaud these efforts. Creating paid parental leave and increasing our minimum hourly wage shows that we are willing to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to supporting working families.”

Previously, City employees who qualified for FMLA were eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child.  Employees could use any sick or vacation time they may have accumulated. Now, employees will be eligible for 12 weeks of leave, 6 of which are guaranteed to be fully paid.

Finally, the City of Akron consulted with Akron Children’s Hospital to create a breastfeeding support policy to ensure that lactating parents are provided the time and facilities they need to express milk at work or while visiting City facilities. The policy applies to all workers and visitors to public City buildings, including community centers or City Hall.  It also makes clear that breastfeeding is permitted in all public areas on City property.  Breastfeeding is linked to lower rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in infants, and breastfeeding-friendly policies are promoted by the City’s Full Term First Birthday collaborative.

“It is important that every single worker, regardless of position, be granted the basic accommodations they need to be a productive working parent,” Press Secretary and Senior Strategic Counsel Ellen Lander Nischt said. “Also, many mothers, especially mothers in minority and disadvantaged communities, lack the supports needed to allow them to make a meaningful choice about whether to pursue breastfeeding as an option for their family.  As a breastfeeding mom myself, I want to thank Mayor Horrigan for taking the lead to create even more equitable spaces for City employees and visitors. We hope businesses across our community will take this opportunity to educate themselves about this issue and institute similar policies to help support healthy parents and babies across Akron.”

For more information, Akron Children’s Hospital offers information and resources about breastfeeding-friendly workplace policies as well as supports for lactating parents. Individuals can contact Cesley Hayes at [email protected] or 330-543-5419.

For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary and Senior Strategic Counsel
Phone: 330-375-2754
E-mail: [email protected]

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