On Oct. 3, the Meridian Township Board held their regular monthly meeting in order to cover topics pertaining to the community and upcoming events. The topic most passionately approved by the board was the Paid Parental Leave Program.
The program allows new parents paid time off for up to 12 weeks after the birth or adoption of the child. Meridian Township Board members showed great appreciation towards the program and had an overarching “family first” mindset.
“I think this is a wonderful policy to be able to offer to our employees at very low cost,” said Trustee Wilson.
The program would have very little economic impact as the new parent would be receiving the same salary through the 12 weeks they would be off. Clerk Guthrie made the motion to direct Township Manager Frank Walsh and Township Human Resources Manager Abby Tithof to draft a policy for Meridian Township regarding paid parental leave.
“It’s probably one of the most important things that we could do especially when we’re looking at retention,” said Clerk Guthrie, “I know Manager Walsh and myself specifically Tao family first and the importance of family.”
Support for the policy was extended across the board. Trustee Wisinski said, “It is fantastic. I do work for the state of Michigan, I’ve had several employees take advantage and it really has boosted morale and it gives them the opportunity to come back to work fully prepared.”
State workers are required to provide birth certificates or adoption papers with their name on it to receive the paid leave. Over 1,000 Michigan residents have already taken advantage of the policy.
At the end of August 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer asked legislature to implement a statewide paid parental leave, covering employees outside of state workers. Abby Tithof, Human Resources Manager, recognized the impact this would have on her department and the community as a whole.
“Making sure that we’re looking at our operations and making sure we’re doing it right and taking care of everybody all across the board so that these people who are off with their loved ones are having a wonderful bonding experience,” said Tithof.
Township Manager Walsh asked the board to work together with him and Tithof on the policy, ensuring the best for Meridian community members.
“It’s our responsibility to carry forward the aim and the goal that the board wants,” said Walsh
The policy would impact female and male Meridian Township state workers and protect their rights to twelve weeks of paid leave. Tithof and Walsh are working to bring this item back as an action item that will be reviewed in December and planned to be implemented by January 2024.