Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson today rescinded two workplace policies hastily established by the previous administration of temporary Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson: Paid Parental Leave and the Infant at Work Program.
The Paid Parental Leave Policy was announced by former Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson on June 30, 2021. The policy would award up to 160 hours of non-cashable leave for eligible employees upon either the birth of an employee’s child or a placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care.
The policy would significantly expand the existing Municipality leave policy under the Family Medical Leave Act and Alaska Family Leave Act. Since its enactment, no Municipal employee has requested use of the Paid Parental Leave Policy.
“This Paid Parental Leave Policy was announced hastily only hours before the previous administration left office. It came with virtually no data, information, or even a basic understanding for how it would impact the Municipality’s budget or financial outlook,” said Mayor Bronson. “Unfortunately, this change in policy which favored MOA executives and non-represented employees would have led to a massive financial liability that the Municipality could simply not afford.”
The Infants at Work Program was implemented on June 15, 2020 by former Mayor Ethan Berkowitz. The program, which has faced significant criticism since its implementation, would allow municipal employees to bring their infants (up to six-months of age) to municipal premises while at work. A small number of people utilized the program.
“Perhaps well intended, the application of this policy led to all sorts of unforeseen circumstances. After numerous complaints across the Municipality from employees, labor unions, and even janitorial staff, the policy was thoroughly reviewed and ultimately rescinded. As applied, this policy created massive issues while favoring only a few executive level employees,” said Mayor Bronson. “We recognize the need for adequate childcare, but this policy, which was implemented at the height of the previous administration’s stay at home orders, is not the right approach.”