The Anchorage Assembly unanimously approved a parental leave policy for executive and non-union city employees at its meeting Tuesday.
It mirrors a policy enacted by then-acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson in June 2021. Mayor Dave Bronson rescinded the policy after he took office the next month.
Quinn-Davidson, who currently represents West Anchorage on the Assembly, brought forward the new ordinance with members Meg Zaletel and Suzanne LaFrance. The policy would allow employees to receive four weeks of paid leave after the birth of a child, or an adoption or foster care placement. Quinn-Davidson says she’s excited for the policy.
“Paid parental leave is pro-family and pro-business,” she said. “It comes with many, many benefits.”
Quinn-Davidson cited studies on the benefits of paid parental leave which show decreases in infant mortality and more opportunities for parents to bond with their children. She also noted that it’d make the city a more competitive employer.
The Assembly can only make benefit changes to non-union represented employees. Quinn-Davidson made an amendment to the ordinance to urge the mayor to help negotiate the benefit for union employees, who she says make up more than three-quarters of the city workforce.
“We’re hoping that the mayor — if this policy does pass, which I really hope it will — that he’ll then work, he and his team, with the bargaining units of those unions to add this benefit,” Quinn-Davidson said.
That amendment, as well as the overall ordinance, was passed by the Assembly unanimously.
In a statement, Bronson said he supports the policy.
“I look forward to having discussions with the unions on how we best can craft a path forward that works for represented employees and the city,” he wrote.
This story has been updated with a statement from Mayor Bronson.