Ind. council doubles paid maternity leave for FFs

Capt. Adam Matson said Alexandria does not have any current female firefighters but hopes that expanded parental leave attracts future applicants


Rebecca Bibbs
The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.

ALEXANDRIA, Ind. — Though the Alexandria Fire Department doesn't have any female firefighters, the city's Board of Works and Safety on Monday voted unanimously in favor of a contract that would double the number of weeks for paid maternity leave from four to eight.

Capt. Adam Matson said the newly approved contract also provides three days of paternity leave.

Alexandria Fire Department's new contract provides three days of paternity leave as well as expanded maternity leave.
Alexandria Fire Department's new contract provides three days of paternity leave as well as expanded maternity leave. (Photo/Alexandria (Ind.) Fire Department)

"I don't know of a lot of fire departments that have maternity leave," he admitted. "We've made great strides to get it to eight weeks. We're hoping in '23 to go to 12."

The Family and Medical Leave Act makes unpaid leave available to new parents working for larger employers. The Alexandria Fire Department has offered four weeks of paid maternity for the past four years, Matson said.

The department doesn't have any current job openings, but Matson said he hopes the paid maternity and paternity leaves will be attractive to future candidates.

"It's the right thing to do for the future growth of the department," he said. "My problem with the FMLA is it's unpaid. But you've got to take care of the working families. This allows for parental bonding, puts food on the table and lets them know their job will still be there."

Matson said getting the city to agree to the new perk wasn't difficult.

"I'll be honest; they didn't blink an eye."

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(c)2022 The Herald Bulletin

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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