The Minnesota governing administration has introduced up to six weeks of paid parental leave for its 32,000 state employees.
Previously, state employees had to use accrued sick leave or purchase short-term disability insurance coverage to take paid time off following the birth or adoption of a child.
The policy aims to help new parents bridge the gap between the birth of a child and the minimum age at which they can enrol their child into a childcare programme. Through the new policy, the state also hopes to enhance employee wellbeing, engagement and morale, and support the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce.
The parental leave policy is expected to save families an average of $6,200 (£5,027) in wages, as Minnesota becomes the fourth US state to offer paid parental leave to its employees.
It is estimated that the new policy, which was recommended by Minnesota’s Parental Leave Working Group, will cost the state $2 million a year (£1,622,369).
The policy has been introduced on an interim basis and must gain legislative approval for it to go into permanent effect.
Tina Smith, lieutenant governor of Minnesota, said: “This is an important step, but we need to keep working so access to family and medical leave isn’t determined by the luck of where parents work.”