TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — Oklahoma state employees could soon have six weeks of paid maternity leave.
Under current law, state employees have to use sick leave or other accrued time to take time off after the birth or adoption of a child.
But Senate Bill 193 could change that.
The bill would allow a state employee, who has been employed by the state for at least two years, to take six weeks of paid maternity leave.
“As republicans, we preach about being pro-family and pro-life. I can't think of a more pro-life bill in the session that we're running,” State Senator Jessica Garvin said.
The bill passed in the Senate last Thursday by a vote of 33-14 but received some pushback from legislators claiming it is not a fiscally conservative investment.
“Return on investment of $1.5-2 million compared to the $110 million of turnover every year. The reality is this small investment in our employees will help us retain the people that have been employed for a long, long time. It could also attract new talent, and when we're getting a higher caliber of applicants to our state employee pool or the applicant pool, we have more government efficiency, which again reduces costs in our agency," Garvin said.
Some have reached out to Garvin requesting to implement the mandated maternity leave in the private sector.
“This is good policy for all employees, but the only one we all actually have control over within the legislature is state employees,” she said.
Garvin says this bill will not increase taxes, but it will increase healthier outcomes.
“This gives the women time to, for their bodies to, heal. Breastfed babies have healthier outcomes later in life, and so, this gives the moms an opportunity to be able to breastfeed at least for six weeks," Garvin said.
Many people stand in favor of paid maternity leave for state employees and hope to see the bill pass.