Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn announces paid family leave for city employees

Florida lags behind states in paid family leave
Posted at 7:00 PM, Feb 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 02:03:40-05

For the first time, city of Tampa employees will get paid family leave.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn made the new policy announcement in a YouTube video Wednesday morning.

The new policy will give primary caregivers eight  weeks paid leave to spend with their new child.

Secondary caregivers will get two weeks of paid leave.

In the video, Buckhorn cited his desire to attract new talent to Tampa as the major reason for the new policy.

RELATED: Mayor Bob Buckhorn announces paid family leave for City of Tampa employees

“I’m excited to be able to take full use of this policy and stay at home with my children and wife,” said Tampa Fire Rescue Capt. Ben Kozich, who is awaiting the birth of a third child.

Kozich said he traded work days with colleagues to take consecutive days off after the births of his first two children. He now will have two weeks of paid time off.

“It’s time you’ll never get back,” Kozich said.

Florida law doesn’t require employers to offer employees paid family leave. Federal law allows for 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

So far, only three states - California, Rhode Island and New Jersey - currently offer some kind of paid leave and an opportunity for extended unpaid leave.

New York lawmakers recently added a new policy to add paid leave in their state, which kicks in January 2018.

“Even the young years of children’s lives are extremely important in molding who they are and how they feel loved,” said Logan Coffey, who serves in the military and is awaiting the birth of a new child.

Due to his military serve, Coffey is allowed to take 10 days of paid family leave. Women, who serve in the military, are allowed up to 12 weeks paid leave.

Kozich hopes news of the new policy spreads.

“Hopefully other employers, private enterprises will follow suit with something like this as well,” Kozich said.

The City of Tampa paid family leave policy takes effect February 12.