Mayor Sly James and KC Recognized for Leading on Family Leave Policy


Kansas City, MO–Mayor Sly James and the City of Kansas City were recognized last night for being among the first municipalities in the nation to implement a paid parental leave policy.

Communities Creating Opportunities (CCO) acknowledged the leadership of Mayor James and City Manager Troy Schulte and their dedication to City employees at the Moral Economy Summit kickoff on Wednesday evening.

“Parents shouldn’t have to worry about getting paid when they take critical time off from their jobs following the birth or adoption of their children,” said Mayor James. “We will continue focusing our efforts on family-friendly policies at City Hall, and I encourage other cities and KC-area companies to follow our lead.”

On May 1, the City began offering six weeks of paid parental leave for mothers and fathers, which can be used at the birth or adoption of a child. Eight weeks may be available when deemed medically necessary.

“The City of Kansas City supports progressive policies like these to attract highly-talented individuals to public service,” said City Manager Troy Schulte. “We are proud to add this to our list of benefits and I believe paid parental leave will soon become a basic benefit for all employers, both public and private.”  

A year ago, after watching a screening of The Raising of America documentary and realizing his own Chief of Staff, a mother, did not have paid maternity leave, Mayor James began researching the issue with the City Manager’s Office. This year, one of the Mayor’s staff members, an expectant mother, also spoke about the importance of the new paid parental leave policy at the event.

Following the documentary screening, a community partnership around the When Work Works initiative also launched, in collaboration with the Women’s Foundation and the Society of Human Resource Management of Greater Kansas City. When Work Works provides best practices for flexible and effective workplaces, and sponsors an award, which scores businesses’ flexible and family-friendly policies against a national sample and provides free benchmarking to businesses.

“I’m proud of this work and the ongoing changes underway through the City’s Women Empowerment Initiative to make City Hall more inclusive and supportive of women,” added Mayor James. “I also give CCO and The Raising of America coalition a lot of credit for bringing so many people together to talk about these important issues and to provide resources and solutions.”

CCO’s Moral Economy Summit runs through today, and convenes citizens from across the metro area to discuss how their communities can impact economic policies in the region.

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Contact: Joni Wickham: 816-513-6582 or cell: 816-572-2152