Following her leadership in 2017 on parental leave, State Auditor Nicole Galloway today issued a letter to Gov. Mike Parson calling on him to enact updated family-friendly policies. Specifically, she called for action to allow state workers to take up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child. These policies would mirror those recently signed into law by President Trump for federal employees.
"Leaders on the federal level and I agree that mothers and fathers should not have to choose between their jobs and having meaningful time with their new or expanding families," Auditor Galloway said. "In 2017, I was pleased to see then-Governor Greitens respond to my calls for improved family-friendly leave polices, but that work is not complete. As state leaders, we should continue looking for new and innovative ways to ensure we can hire and retain the best public servants to work for the people of Missouri.
Auditor Galloway encouraged Gov. Parson to ensure Missouri is leading by example on the issue by signing an executive order updating the state's parental leave policies. A similar action was taken in 2017 by then-Gov. Eric Greitens. Less than a month after Auditor Galloway called on Greitens to strengthen the state's leave policies, he signed Executive Order 17-09, which established up to six weeks of parental leave for Missouri employees in the executive branch of state government.
In addition to the recent changes for federal employees, paid parental leave is becoming more common among private companies, both in Missouri and throughout the nation. A recent survey found 40% of employers in the U.S. offer paid parental leave, an increase from 24% in 2015.
"As one of the largest employers in the state, Missouri state government should be leading the way," Auditor Galloway said. "Gov. Parson can implement this policy now without legislation, establishing a taskforce, or other delay. I am ready to stand with him to move our state forward to benefit Missouri families."
Throughout her time as a statewide official, Auditor Galloway has advocated for family-friendly policies. Prior to the 2017 executive order, she made changes to her own office leave policies to allow for bonding time after the birth or adoption of a child. Additionally, her office was a leader in ensuring domestic violence is a covered leave category under existing workplace protections.
Read the letter to the Gov. Parson here.