American politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (pictured) has introduced a new parental leave policy for expectant mothers and fathers who work at her office, providing three months of fully paid leave.
Ocasio-Cortez, who represents New York’s 14th congressional district, announced the new policy via her Twitter feed in May 2019, stating that all new parents, whether they are male, female, biological or adoptive, can take up to three months of leave at full pay.
Employees also have flexibility to decide how they wish to take their parental leave; it is not compulsory to take the time off as a single, continuous block. For example, new parents could have a number of weeks off and then use the remainder of their leave to work on a part-time basis in order to transition back in to the workplace.
Ocasio-Cortez said on her Twitter account: “Expecting a child has nothing to do with our hiring decisions and we do everything we can to accommodate. That’s supposed to be law, but there are small ways, including self-selection, where it can play a role. We work to be a pro-family workplace.
“If [employers] give dads less paid parental leave that mums, [they are] contributing to the pay gap. If [organisations] see pregnancy or family as a workplace obstacle, [it is] contributing to the pay gap.”
The politician is further working on making her office a family-friendly environment, for example providing her personal office for pumping milk or breastfeeding and allowing staff members to bring their babies to work.
Ocasio-Cortez added: “We make an effort to make our office family-friendly. We talk about what play mats and cribs we need along with our legislative agenda.
“This conversation is bigger than parental leave; it’s a larger conversation about how modern work has grown so hostile to family life. It doesn’t have to be that way. Work and family can go together, but we have to break down the barriers that force people to choose between them.”