(The Center Square) – Georgia House on Tuesday approved a measure that would allow state employees to take three weeks of paid parental leave

House bill 146, which passed House 155-2, is a follow-up call to the legislature to introduce paid parental leave, which has already been passed at the federal level.

Houston Gaines, R-Athens MP who introduced the bill called it a “positive step forward” for Georgia.

If HB 146 becomes law, state or local education authority employees who have worked 700 hours or more in the six months prior to the requested paid leave may be eligible for paid time off after childbirth, adoption, or admission have a foster child. The three weeks could be combined with other paid time off, but paid parental leave would only be granted once per calendar year.

New York, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington, and the District of Columbia offer paid parental leave to government employees. In 2019, Congress passed the Federal Employees’ Paid Vacation Act, which granted federal government employees up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave from October 2020.

Some members of the Georgia House Committee on Health & Human Services wanted to extend the length of vacation to six weeks before sending the bill across the House.

Gaines said he wanted to keep the bill as it is to ensure it gets passed using the same language from the legislation the House approved last year.

“I would like to support another bill covering more weeks, but I think we should start here to get something in the books,” Gaines told other members of the committee.

The House approved House Bill 1094 in March, but the measure was gutted by the Senate.

Government employees may see additional benefits in this legislature. Legislature has proposed a handful of measures that include salary increases, bonuses and other benefits for government employees.

Georgia Budget for fiscal year changed, signed by Governor Brian Kemp on Monday, includes a $ 1,000 bonus for certain government employees and a 10% wage increase for proofreaders.

HB 146 is now going to the Senate for examination.