Council Passes Paid Parental Leave For Metro Employees, Approves Review Board Nominees
Louisville Metro Government employees will get 12 weeks of paid parental leave, following a unanimous vote by the Metro Council.
It was one of several notable measures whose fates lawmakers decided on Thursday.
Council members said the paid leave policy could apply to some 5,000 Metro employees after the birth or adoption of a child.
Cassie Chambers Armstrong (D-8), a co-sponsor of the ordinance who has an infant, said paid leave policies benefit families and employers.
“It's also an equity issue, as we know that paid leave is tied to decreased infant mortality rates and that we have higher infant mortality rates in our Black communities,” she said.
Full- and part-time employees who’ve worked at least 12 months before the start of leave will be eligible. And employees who take on kids in foster or kinship care will be able to get two weeks of paid leave.
Mayor Greg Fischer praised the vote in a tweet. The policy will go into effect on July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
The city’s Office of Management and Budget estimated the cost of providing the paid leave could be about $4.4 million in the next fiscal year, but said it could be anywhere from $2.8 million to $6 million.
Armstrong said Nashville provides paid parental and medical leave to more employees for $2.8 million a year.
“Beyond the numbers, I think that this is truly the right thing to do for our Metro employees,” she said.
Council members also approved Fischer’s 11 nominees for the new Civilian Review and Accountability Board, which is tasked with oversight of Louisville Metro Police Department conduct. Two Black nominees — minister and nonprofit leader Stachelle Bussey and school bus driver and radio host Antonio Taylor — faced resistance from some council members who said some of their past social media posts criticizing police showed they could not be objective.
Jessica Green (D-1) spoke in favor of the two, referencing their other posts and work in the city. She suggested anyone who would only have positive things to say about law enforcement would not be considered unsuitable to serve on the board.
“A job in law enforcement is not a protected class. In the same way that people can say I hate lawyers, or I hate Metro Council members, it is okay for people to speak about their experiences with law enforcement that are not positive,” she said. “We want people who are empowered to speak about their experiences.”
Council members approved both appointments in 15-10 votes, with all seven Republicans voting against, along with Mark Fox (D-13), Cindi Fowler (D-14) and Amy Holton Stewart (D-25).
Despite pressure from preservationists, council members voted to overturn the landmark designation for the Odd Fellows Building on West Muhammad Ali Blvd., which the city sold to the Omni Hotel in 2014. That clears the way for the unused building’s demolition.
Jecorey Arthur (D-4) said there was ample evidence not to retain the building’s landmark status, given that the Landmarks Commission said the building and site had no ties to specific individuals or events.
“You can also call into question this criteria when we consider that the Odd Fellows as an institution, as a national institution, had a ‘whites only’ clause until 1971,” he said.
Another measure, aimed at penalizing the practice of publishing or republishing a person’s personal information with the intent of harm, failed in a 12-12 tie. The ordinance would have made the practice, also known as “doxing,” punishable by a fine of up to $250.