Business Smart: The City of Wilmington

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Wilmington, NC offers visitors and residents a relaxing coastal vibe combined with the hustle and bustle of a historic downtown river district. Its charm, modern facilities, cuisine, arts and culture make Wilmington a popular destination.

As an employer for over 280 years, the City of Wilmington prides itself on serving the public with 1,150 highly talented employees. Its mission—to provide quality services that enhance the safety, livability, and prosperity of the Wilmington community—is achieved by attracting and retaining these employees. Part of their strategy to do so is by offering competitive, family-friendly employee benefits, including the City’s paid parental leave policy, which allows for up to six weeks of paid time off for a mother or father to bond with a new child or the legal placement of a child.

The City of Wilmington’s paid parental leave policy runs concurrently with the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and while on leave, employees continue to accrue sick and vacation paid time off, another bonus for new parents.

“Becoming a parent is a very challenging time in an individual’s life, and parental leave plays an important role in helping employees manage their transition out and back into work.  By establishing a paid parental leave policy, we have enhanced our brand as a family-friendly organization and are more competitive in the market for talent,” states Jeanne Sexton, senior human resources analyst for the City of Wilmington.

Jeanne continues, “Before we had this policy, we lost several candidates and employees to other organizations because we did not offer paid parental leave.  Recent studies show that the costs of employee search, selection, and training can be massively reduced by adopting enhanced parental leave policies.”

Detective Daniel Fortier and family

And many employees agree. Detective Daniel Fortier, with the Wilmington Police Department, used the paid parental leave in December 2019 for the birth of his third child. He explains, “Having six paid weeks off after the birth of my child helped make the transition of getting home from the hospital and settling in with the baby so much easier. My wife appreciated it, too. During the time off, I was able to help care for my other two kids and get them off to school so my wife could focus on nursing and taking care of the baby. Then while the kids were at school, I was able to bond with my baby and give my wife a break.”

Daniel also states, “This is a great benefit for new parents. I believe it can be used as a recruitment tool to draw new talent to Wilmington as many people don’t receive so much time off. Overall it was a great experience to have this time with my family and get to know the new baby.”

Steve Mauch, an officer for the Wilmington Police Department, also agrees. “Babies don’t stay babies for very long. And those first six weeks are crucial in doing skin-to-skin with the baby and spending time together. Our first child was born in January 2020, and the paid parental leave allowed me to have the time to get acclimated to our major life change. It was nice to be there for my wife and our baby. Our family thought it was such a blessing not to have to be apart so soon,” Steve states. “It was important to me to give all my time to my family, and by giving employees the paid parental leave, the City shows they are about our families and us.”

The City of Wilmington’s core values includes respect, professionalism, integrity, service and safety. In addition to the paid parental leave policy, the City tries to offer additional family-forward benefits that hold to those values. Health benefits, paid time off, including sick and vacation time, fertility coverage, breastfeeding and lactation stations for new moms, and flexible work schedules are a few of those employee benefits.

“We also focus heavily on career development,” states Jeanne. “The City offers tuition reimbursement to employees who are working towards a degree, lunch and learns, as well as skill-based training.”

For more information on the City of Wilmington, please click here.

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