YWCA Dayton’s new paid parental leave fully launched May 1, 2020, allowing eligible workers the opportunity to take time off from work to care for loved ones and themselves during a critical life change without sacrificing a paycheck and financial stability. It provides up to 12 weeks of paid leave to any YWCA Dayton employee who is a new parent due to birth, adoption, foster, or other placement. It is the first time in YWCA Dayton’s 150-year history that paid parental leave has been offered as a benefit.
The Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network reports that the U.S. is the only industrialized country in the world without some form of guaranteed, legally-protected paid leave. Because of that shortfall, only 15 percent of workers have access to paid family leave, and that drops to a mere four percent among low-wage workers. At the same time, nearly two-thirds of Ohio households rely on women as the sole breadwinner – with 85 percent of Black moms and 62 percent of Latinx moms serving as their households’ only providers.
One of the first to benefit was Koko Brown, a mother of two and a case manager in the permanent supportive housing program at YWCA Dayton. Brown welcomed her second child, daughter Maliyah, on May 12.
“I’m so grateful to the organization for providing paid parental leave,” Brown said. “It allowed me to still provide for my family while I spent time with them welcoming our newest addition. I was so worried about missing out on moments or not healing from my surgery because I couldn’t afford to be at home. This took away a lot of stress, and I’m so grateful.”
According to insurance agency HORAN, YWCA Dayton is one of only four Dayton-area human services nonprofits to provide paid parental leave. The benefit is possible thanks to smart fiscal decisions and agile grant funding, said Andrea Nianouris, HR business partner.
“We are proud to provide this benefit to current and future members of Team YWCA,” Nianouris said. “Paid leave ensures that our staff won’t have to choose between supporting their families or bringing home a paycheck.”
Studies have shown that employers also benefit from paid leave through higher employee retention and morale. In Ohio, there is an 11-percentage point gap in labor force participation between men and women, partially attributed to the lack of family-friendly policies like paid leave as women are more likely to take a leave of absence from their jobs or leave the workforce entirely to care for family (Source: National Partnership for Women & Families).
“Nonprofits have a reputation of not offering the benefits for which we so fiercely advocate,” said Shannon Isom, president and CEO.
“I say, we talk the talk; but also, we walk the walk. YWCA Dayton is proud to offer for the first time the benefit of parental leave to our employees because we know this will positively affect our families, our Montgomery and Preble County community, and especially our children. We know this is the right thing to do for our employees – moms and dads – and we challenge our friends in the nonprofit sector to do the same. Let’s change the narrative and the expectation of who we are and what we offer. We’re all in.”
YWCA Dayton currently has job openings for case managers, housing managers, youth/teen educators, and more. Visit www.ywcadayton.org/careers to apply.