SPRINGFIELD - Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias signed an Executive Order today to expand the office’s parental leave policy – from four weeks to twelve weeks – which takes place immediately.

Alexi GiannouliasSince taking office in January, Giannoulias has worked closely with staff and various unions representing Secretary of State employees to strengthen the office’s paid parental leave.

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Under the new policy, employees will also have more flexibility with the ability to use their time off intermittently in five-day increments for one year after the child becomes part of their family. It applies to those employees growing their family by birth or adoption.

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“No working parent should have to choose between paying their bills and the time necessary to bond with their new child and family,” said Giannoulias, the father of three young daughters. “Allowing just four weeks of time off following the birth of a child is not only woefully insufficient, but criminal."

“By signing this order, we’re making a positive impact for working Illinoisans across our state that will result in healthier and more financially stable families,” he added. “It will also create a more effective workplace and position the office to become more competitive when attracting and retaining a talented workforce.”

Overhauling the office’s antiquated parental leave policy aligns with Giannoulias’ goals of reducing disparities in maternal and infant health-related issues and addressing gender and racial inequity in accessing quality, good-paying jobs.

Under the new policy, as well as through recently enacted union agreements, all of the approximately 4,100 Secretary of State employees will receive up to twelve weeks of paid parental leave regardless of whether they are the birthing or non-birthing parent, who under the previous policy were only given two weeks of paid time off.

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