Paid parental leave for Georgia employees and teachers passes House

The Georgia House passed a bill giving three weeks of paid parental leave to state employees and teachers.

The legislation, House Bill 146, would cover about 423,000 parents following the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.

The House voted 155-2 on Tuesday to approve the proposal, which now advances to the state Senate for further consideration. A similar measure also passed the House last year but stalled in the Senate during the closing moments of the legislative session.

State Rep. Houston Gaines, a Republican from Athens, said the bill is a step forward for the state. Georgia consistently ranks among the bottom of states in terms of paid leave benefits.

Government employees would be eligible for paid parental leave after six months of full-time employment. Both mothers and fathers could take advantage of the benefit.

The legislation doesn’t affect private companies’ ability to set their own parental leave policies.