Warner Robins council denies paid maternity leave

WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Warner Robins city council voted 3-2 against paid maternity leave for city employees at a meeting Tuesday night.

Councilman Chuck Shaheen proposed the ordinance a few weeks before the meeting. He was hoping someone on the council would have given him any suggestions, but he says no one did. The ordinance would have allowed women to take four weeks of paid maternity leave instead of having to use their sick days.

“It was a great opportunity to just show all the institutions and the rest of the world that Warner Robins is first and really cares about their women that work them,” said Shaheen.

He wished the city could have been more progressive instead of sticking to an ‘outdated’ maternity policy.

“‘We’ve never done it this way before’, well come on, we can be better than that and that’s what I thought the council would do,” said Shaheen. “I talked with them all about it, I sent them all the information, nobody had said a word.”

Councilman Tim Thomas was one of those who voted against the ordinance. He says it’s not because he doesn’t support maternity leave.

“I didn’t have a problem with the ordinance, said Thomas. “But it should include paternity leave, it should include adoptions and then with today’s society, you have same sex marriage.”

Shaheen says approving this first ordinance would have been the first step in getting there.

“You have to crawl before you can walk and we want to talk a baby step, no pun intended, let’s take a baby step and help a four week lady,” said Shaheen.

“I could see it being a lawsuit coming up so I think it’s a lawsuit coming up,” said Thomas. “So I think if we’re going to do this, we need to do it across the board.”

Shaheen says he spoke with the city attorney who didn’t think this would be a lawsuit.

“Our city attorney presented the policy, so why would you see the attorney present a policy that we could get possibly sued by when when he copied it from the city of Marietta,” said Shaheen.

Thomas says he has no problem re-visiting the ordinance again, as long as it’s a little more clear this time.

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