Northam signs executive orders for paid parental leave, child care options for state employees

Orders signed in hopes of retaining employees with children

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

RICHMOND, Va. – Gov. Ralph Northam signed two executive orders on Tuesday to support state employees.

The orders provide paid parental leave and establish an advisory commission to study child care and childhood services.

Executive Order Number Twelve authorizes employees of executive branch state agencies paid parental leave. This provides up to eight weeks of paid leave so that employees can bond with a newborn or care for a child under the age of 18 who is newly placed for adoption, foster or custodial care. The leave may be combined with other leave benefits and will apply to both parents if they are both eligible state employees.

Studies indicate that bonding with new children positively affects children's health and development and decreases infant mortality rates. Paid leave also benefits parents' health, well-being and financial stability and increases the likelihood that they return to the workforce.

Executive Order Number Thirteen creates an advisory commission to study the feasibility of providing childhood education services to the children of state employees who work around Capitol Square in Richmond. The commission will also look into the creation of similar programs for state workers in other parts of Virginia, evaluate the benefits of supporting child care and learning programs of employees' children and recommend policies to help Virginia attract and retain employees with young children.

The commission will be led by first lady Pamela Northam; the secretaries of education, health and human resources and administration; representatives of the General Assembly; citizens appointed by the governor's office; and early childhood education and development experts.