Assembly votes to give Muni employees a ‘fairly mediocre’ parental leave benefit


The Anchorage Assembly voted unanimously to enact an ordinance that awards four weeks of paid parental leave benefits for municipal employees who are new parents.

The policy was first set in place by edict when Austin Quinn Davidson became acting mayor after the disgraceful early exit of former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. Mayor Dave Bronson rescinded the executive order in August of 2021, and the Assembly has now put it back in place via ordinance.

The Assembly has not considered the fiscal impacts of the leave, which could put some departments, such as street maintenance or police, under pressure if several people at once take family leave. Nor did the Assembly consider the diminished services to the public that could result from the leave allowance. Just last month, the Assembly also granted two more holidays to city employees, to celebrate Juneteenth and to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

According to the National Partnership for Women and Families, which promotes parental leave, about 75% of Alaska workers do not have paid parental leave. The nonprofit says that In Alaska, a typical worker who takes four weeks of unpaid leave loses nearly $3,800 in income.

Quinn Davidson said that while the leave would be first granted after employees have worked for six months, eventually she would like to see workers eligible for the leave from the first day they are hired, so they could be hired and go on immediate one-month family leave. That would go into effect in January of 2024.

“I think if there is any temptation to worry that pregnant people will come work for us just for this benefit, I would just point out a couple things: One, and some public testifiers shared this, this leave package is not particularly competitive, it’s basically the bare minimum that we see with employers. The federal government does 12 weeks and we’re instituting four if we pass this tonight, so I don’t really think anyone is going to come here to work for that fairly mediocre parental leave policy,” Quinn Davidson said.

“The second piece is that these are people we want to come work for us. We have hired these people, we’ve selected them, probably among many other candidates to be people who we want to bring onto our team. And that means they’re gonna work for us and do good, and anyway, if people come here for the benefit, that’s actually what we want.”


  1. Parenting does cause inconvenience. In the private sector, decisions must be made. My daughter in law has given up two years wages in order to care for my granddaughter. As a single male parent, I personally gave up any chance of becoming successful in my career for the sake of my children. There are no regrets. I support paid leave for a new parent unless it is unreasonable. We have proven with the pandemic that it is possible to work from home for many jobs. You can definitely answer phones while caring for your child. This needs to be included in the bill. Nobody deserves a free ride.

  2. So all the business closures and unemployed families have to pay for the after the mandate enriched post-partum time. What a fancy dilemma.

  3. What do you bet that they accrue seniority while out on leave. I got hosed on that one. Co worker out on maternity leave got promoted ahead of me due to the no productive time!!


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