Greitens’ executive order on paid parental leave for state employees expected to cost about $1 million annually

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Governor Eric Greitens announced a new executive order Monday, instituting a paid parental leave policy for state employees in the executive branch’s agencies.
The governor announced the decision in a Facebook video Monday afternoon, accompanied by his wife, First Lady Sheena Greitens, and their son, Jacob.

“We need to do everything in our power to support children and families in this state—and that begins on day one of their arrival in the home. Before today, a state employee who gave birth to or adopted a child would have to use sick time, vacation time, or take unpaid leave,” Greitens said. “And yet, everything we know about that crucial period after a child arrives in the home argues for giving parents time with their new children. Parents use that time to nurture and bond with the newest member of the family. Research proves that parental leave time is linked to better infant health and development, as well as employee retention and productivity. We believe that this policy will help new parents gain some stability during a happy and hectic time.”

Under the new order, state employees who are primary caregivers would be entitled to six weeks of paid leave, while secondary caregivers would receive three weeks. The leave would apply to both births or adoptions. If both parents work for the executive branch, then they both would receive time off, which they may use at the same time or consecutively. All leave is required to be taken within 12 weeks of the birth or adoption of a child, and cannot be donated or rolled over into future years.
The order applies to all employees under the executive branch in each agency, whether they are full-time, hourly, or in 24-hour positions.
But the executive order still left some questions unanswered, like how much it will cost or how long it is intended to last.
 Greitens’ press secretary referred reporters to the Office of Administration for answers to those questions.
“The Budget Office has estimated an annual cost of approximately $1.1 million, which we think the departments can manage within their existing budgets,” Ryan Burns, the Director of Communications for OA, said in an email Monday evening.

As for the length, she said the executive order would stay put until further notice unless rescinded by a future governor.

Greitens encouraged other state-elected officials, commissions, and the legislative and judicial branches to adopt the policy as well.

“We’re proud of this decision, and we know it’ll be an important step forward for our state,” he finished.

Wendy Doyle, the President & CEO of Women’s Foundation, applauded the move.

“We are very pleased that Governor Greitens has taken executive action to provide state employees with paid parental leave and make Missouri a national leader in advancing family-friendly policies for its state workforce,” she said in a statemeny. “Women’s Foundation research shows that paid family leave policies strengthen families, reduce reliance on government assistance and support economic growth. At Women’s Foundation, we are dedicated to ending the false choice between work and family. Missourians value both. We applaud Governor Greitens for his leadership on this issue.”