Montgomery Co. starts studying family leave

WASHINGTON — Ask any new parent: having a baby is exciting — and exhausting. Many parents would love the chance to stay home with a newborn, but their companies may not offer paid leave, or they may be contractors who simply don’t have those benefits.

In Montgomery County, the council has obtained a grant from the US Department of Labor to study paid family leave.

Montgomery County Council member Hans Riemer says he would like to see paid leave made the standard for families.

“Ultimately I think it should be a national policy, but we’re trying to push this forward however we can,” even if that means adopting it at the county level to start, says Riemer.

D.C. has taken up a bill that would provide 16 weeks of paid leave with the level of benefits determined by a sliding scale. Opponents say it will strain businesses, especially smaller companies. Supporters say it will foster more loyalty among employees.

It’s not clear if Montgomery County would propose family leave for as long as 16 weeks.

Riemer says the county is just in the beginning stages of analyzing the issue — it just received the $63,153 grant. The Office of Legislative Oversight will write the report, due at the latest, Riemer says, by October of 2016.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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