FILE - Georgia state Capitol

The gold dome of the Georgia state Capitol in Atlanta.

(The Center Square) – A measure that would allow state employees in Georgia to take three weeks of paid parental leave is headed back to the House after it unanimously passed the Senate.

House Bill 146 is a follow-up attempt by lawmakers to implement paid parental leave, which already was adopted on the federal level.

If HB 146 becomes law, state or local school board employees who worked at least 700 hours over the six months preceding the requested paid leave date can qualify for the paid time off after the birth of a child, adoption of a child or taking in of a foster child. Paid parental leave would be granted only once a calendar year. State agencies and school boards are able to dictate the policy rules.

The legislation cleared the Senate, 52-0, without debate Thursday and was sent back to the House for concurrence. The House first passed the bill, 155-2, on Feb. 16.

New York, California, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Washington and the District of Columbia offer paid parental leave to state employees. Congress passed the Federal Employees Paid Leave Act in 2019. It gave federal government employees up to 12 weeks of paid parental leave, starting in October 2020.

Sponsors of the bill have said they plan to lengthen the leave in the future.

Members of 9to5, a national organization dedicated to improving working conditions for women and families, lobbied for the bill's passage at the state Capitol earlier this month.

"It's just a first step, but state employees [and] teachers are close to having paid parental leave for the first time in [Georgia]," 9to5 tweeted. "Proud of this work, and we are looking forward to continuing to build until we have #PaidLeaveforAll."

Staff Reporter

Nyamekye Daniel has been a journalist for four years. She was the managing editor for the South Florida Media Network and a staff writer for The Miami Times. Daniel's work has also appeared in the Sun-Sentinel, Miami Herald and The New York Times.