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Danville could soon offer paid maternity leave

Vice mayor, council member pushing for it as way to help city grow

DANVILLE, Va. – Currently, women working for the city of Danville who want to take time off to be with their newborn child have to use their vacation or sick days.

Danville Vice Mayor Lee Vogler says city councilman Adam Tomer brought up the issue recently.

"That time with your newborn is essential. As a father of two young kids, I know how important that is. So this is something that Councilman Tomer, myself, and some others on council feel very strongly that we need to make happen," Vogler said

On Wednesday, 10 News reached out to Tomer but did not get a response.

Aside from making spending time with their newborn child easier for mothers, Vogler says offering paid maternity leave could help the city grow by attracting young people.

"We're hoping that Danville can kind of show everyone we're a pro-family city and we want young, working families. This is a way I think we can say we're their to support them," Vogler said.

How many current employees might take advantage of paid maternity leave is unclear, but Vogler says the response to the idea has been very positive.

As for paid leave for fathers?

"That's something we're going to discuss," said Vogler. "I think it would be great to (give paid leave) to both parents, but at the very least we need to have six weeks (of) maternity leave."

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Donald Trump said he wants to make paid family leave nationwide.

"I am also proud to be the first President to include in my budget a plan for nationwide paid family leave so that every new parent has the chance to bond with their newborn child," Trump said.

How paid maternity leave would work in Danville was unknown Wednesday.

"We'll look and see what other localities have done, Vogler said. "I believe Richmond has a policy, the state has a policy. We'll kind of see where they are and see if we can be in line with that."

Vogler hopes to discuss the issue with council members during the first city council work session in March.