Three months ago, state Sen. Mallory McMorrow became the second woman to give birth while serving in the state Senate.
Because McMorrow isn't an employee of the state of Michigan – rather an elected official whose pay is written into the state constitution — she doesn't qualify for parental leave. In Michigan, there is no actual parental leave policy for state legislators.
Lawmakers, technically speaking, can take as much or as little time off as they want. The catch: They miss votes, both in committee and on the floor and Michigan is one of about 20% of states that serves on a full-time basis. Aside from a short summer recess, lawmakers work the entire year.
It's not just Michigan. There's no set policy for parental leave in place or mechanism to participate in committees or session remotely for full-time lawmakers in Ohio. And while there are temporary provisions for remote participation in Pennsylvania this year — there isn't a policy in place there either.
These conversations about parental leave policies are new, according to Jean Sinzdak, the Associate Director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. One of the reasons: Three-quarters of all elected officials are still men.
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