Tuesday, September 25, 2018
News Roundup

Buckhorn: Access to paid parental leave makes Tampa more competitive

Tampa is competing with cities around the world. We compete for investment, for jobs, and for business but the most important thing we compete for is a talented workforce. The intellectual capital of today, the brightest young minds and innovators, can live anywhere they choose yet more and more are choosing Tampa.

Last week I announced that the City of Tampa will begin providing paid parental leave to our full-time workers. Attracting and retaining the most talented workforce does not solely lie in downtown amenities and adding jobs, it also requires providing a 21st Century workplace for 21st Century families.

Access to paid leave after the birth of a child has been shown to offer wide ranging health benefits for mothers and for children including increased birth weight, a decrease in premature births, and leads to a substantial decrease in infant mortality.

Access to parental leave increases the likelihood that mothers return to work and continue progressing in their careers. Recent research based on California's paid paternal leave policy suggests that access to paid maternity leave increased the weekly hours and wages of employed mothers of toddlers by nearly 10 percent.

Our new parental leave policy will provide primary caregivers with eight weeks and secondary caregivers with two weeks of paid leave following the birth or adoption of a new child. This allows parents, mothers and fathers, to take the time they need to bond with and care for their new child. Families should never be faced with the arduous decision of whether to take those critical first weeks home with their families or put food on their table.

The benefits to business are equally abounding as the benefits to health and families. Providing paid parental leave will improve the city's ability to recruit and retain talent, decrease worker turnover, and boost productivity. Offering new benefits is never free; there will be a minimal impact to our bottom line, but we are focused on the long-term benefits to our workforce and research shows that the net gains of establishing family friendly workplace policies far outweigh those of short-term cost saving measures.

Far too often, paid parental leave is viewed as a women's issue. Today women make up nearly half of the American workforce. In four out of 10 American families with children, mothers are the primary or sole earners — a number that has quadrupled since 1960 and is now the highest on record. Outdated workplace policies that make life harder for women make life harder for families and harder for children. These policies affect our economic competitiveness as cities, as businesses and as a nation.

As the husband of an accomplished medical professional and the father of two daughters who I hope will go on to lead fulfilling and promising careers of their own, I am committed to making it easier for the women and men who work for me to also balance the needs of their families. I understand innately the importance of time to bond and care for a new child in the first few weeks of their arrival. I remember vividly the first weeks with my daughters and how much effort it took to manage the careers of my wife and myself as new parents.

We live in a country that offers the most incredible opportunities for our children and yet still lags behind the world in prioritizing time with our families. We are the only advanced nation that fails to provide wide ranging paid parental leave for our workers.

In the city of Tampa, we are doing our part to lead on paid parental leave.

Our 4,300 workers at the city of Tampa are the backbone of this community. They support all of us every day. You put your trash out, it gets picked up, potholes get filled, and water keeps running. Today, I am making a commitment to support them. I urge other employers to follow my lead. Parental leave, child care and the like are not women's issues — they are economic issues. The progress we make on this front will directly impact our competitiveness on the global stage.

Bob Buckhorn is the mayor of Tampa. Follow @BobBuckhorn

Comments
Chilling 911 call from shooting victim’s son lays out horrors of Pasco murder-suicide

Chilling 911 call from shooting victim’s son lays out horrors of Pasco murder-suicide

Shortly after midnight Monday, Pasco County 911 dispatchers received a chilling call."My mom is shot," said the wavering voice of a young man. "My mom was shot."Though not identified, deputies say 14-year-old Mark Price had run out of his house on 1...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
A doctor was sued for malpractice. He tried to fight it. It cost him nearly everything.

A doctor was sued for malpractice. He tried to fight it. It cost him nearly everything.

Scott Plantz remembers the exact date he received notice he was being sued for medical malpractice.His wife, Cynna, gave birth to their only child that day in 2009. They had spent five years and more than $100,000 on in vitro fertilizations to have H...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Buccaneers AfterMath: Tampa Bay’s defense is raising red flags

Buccaneers AfterMath: Tampa Bay’s defense is raising red flags

You might have walked away from the game Monday night feeling pretty good about your Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sure, the first half was about as ugly as it gets. After the Steelers returned Ryan Fitzpatrick’s third interception for a touchdown late...
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Commute times reach nearly half an hour, note backers of tax hike for transportation

Commute times reach nearly half an hour, note backers of tax hike for transportation

TAMPA — Something to ponder the next time you’re stuck on Dale Mabry Highway during rush hour: The average commute for people in Hillsborough County now pushes half an hour.U.S. Census Bureau data released this month shows a 28.3 minute average commu...
Updated: 22 minutes ago
Markeis McGlockton’s autopsy shows he turned away from shooter

Markeis McGlockton’s autopsy shows he turned away from shooter

The autopsy for Markeis McGlockton, who was killed in a shooting that set off a debate about Florida’s stand your ground law, shows the bullet entered his body at an angle and tore through his heart and both lungs.The Pinellas-Pasco Medical Examiner’...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Eduardo A. Encina joins the Times to cover the Bucs

Eduardo A. Encina joins the Times to cover the Bucs

ST. PETERSBURG — Eduardo A. Encina, an award-winning sportswriter with an extensive background covering Tampa Bay sports, is returning to the Times to cover the Bucs.Encina will join Rick Stroud, Thomas Bassinger and columnists Tom Jones and Ma...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Trump attacks second Kavanaugh accuser, saying she 'has nothing' and was 'totally inebriated'

Trump attacks second Kavanaugh accuser, saying she 'has nothing' and was 'totally inebriated'

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump on Tuesday attacked the second woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, dismissing her account because she was "totally inebriated and all messed up," and accused Democrats of pla...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa gunshot victim dies after he’s dropped off at hospital, police say

Tampa gunshot victim dies after he’s dropped off at hospital, police say

Times staffTAMPA — A man suffering from gunshot wounds died at a Tampa hospital after someone dropped him off there Tuesday afternoon, police said.Tampa police responded to a call about gunshots just after noon near the intersection of E Hillsborough...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rep. Charlie Crist urges federal consumer watchdog to investigate Marlin Financial

Rep. Charlie Crist urges federal consumer watchdog to investigate Marlin Financial

Another public official has set his sights on Marlin Financial. In a letter Tuesday, Rep. Charlie Crist urged the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to investigate the online auto lender, saying he was "disturbed" by a recent Tampa ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Residents of tiny Aripeka will keep their post office after new agreement

Residents of tiny Aripeka will keep their post office after new agreement

ARIPEKA —In this tiny fishing town where nothing much changes, even the conflict this summer was nothing new: Five years after a disagreement that led to the closure of the town's post office, word circulated that the office was set to close a...
Updated: 1 hour ago