TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Today, Governor Ron DeSantis expanded maternity and family leave for Florida state employees. The expansion was approved during today’s meeting of the Governor and Cabinet. Eligible state employees can receive paid maternity leave for up to seven weeks and parental leave for two weeks, which can be combined to provide nine weeks of paid leave for mothers. Previously, state employees could use sick and annual leave or unpaid leave following the birth of a child. Compared to other Southeastern states, this is the most robust paid leave policy for mothers following birth.
“When I became Governor, I made it a priority to champion policies that support families and empower parents,” said Governor Ron DeSantis. “As a father of three, I know how instrumental those first weeks are for new parents and their children.”
“The most important job I will ever have is being a mother to Madison, Mason and Mamie,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “In Florida, we believe family is everything, which is why we are proud to provide much needed maternal and family leave to Florida families.”
The new policy covers any new mother or father that has been with the State of Florida as a full-time employee for at least one year. The new state employee leave policy:
- Provides 280 hours (7 weeks) of paid maternity leave immediately following the birth of a child.
- Provides 80 hours (2 weeks) of paid parental leave within the first 12 months of the birth or adoption of a child.
- Authorizes the use of sick leave to bond with a new child for up to a maximum of 16 weeks (when combined with paid maternity and parental leave) within the first 12 months of the birth or adoption of a child.
“DMS is proud to support Florida’s state employees, and this new rule would allow growing families committed to public service the ability to invest in their family during the first months of their baby’s life,” said Department of Management Services Secretary Pedro Allende. “This rule supports Governor DeSantis’ family first focus and enhances DMS’ mission of attracting and retaining a highly qualified state workforce.”
Today, the Governor and Cabinet also approved rules to allow paid family leave insurance to be offered in the state, providing a mechanism for Florida employers to offer similar benefits through supplemental insurance benefits for their own employees. Leave will be available to Florida state employees after rules have been noticed and adopted by the Florida Department of Management Services.
The new leave benefits enable mothers sufficient time to recover after the birth of a child and allow both parents the opportunity to care for and bond with their baby or newly adopted child and adapt to changing family dynamics without the financial worry of lost wages. Paid leave improves both parental and infant health, including both physical health and well-being. Early bonding with newborns can greatly impact their social and cognitive development.