Allegheny County Controller Chelsa Wagner today applauded County Executive Rich Fitzgerald for announcing paid parental leave for Allegheny County employees. Wagner became the first government official in Western Pennsylvania to implement a paid family leave policy last year. Last month, she congratulated City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak on her proposed legislation, and urged City and County action for expanded parental leave.
"In 2011, I voted for Mr. Fitzgerald and even told my friends to, because he promised me that forward thinking policies would have a place in his Administration,” Wagner said. “Though we have our disagreements on other issues, I'm delighted that we have been able to agree on paid maternity and paternity leave, and gladly give credit where credit is due. I wholeheartedly applaud Mr. Fitzgerald for this step. This is a great day for Allegheny County when we see our government leading on an important and far reaching issue."
In September of 2014, following the Labor Day holiday, Controller Wagner implemented a similar policy for the 100 Controller’s Office employees, called the “Paid Family Emergency Leave Policy,” which provides paid leave for employees who must tend to critical care issues for themselves or a loved one, including maternity and paternity leave. The policy was created, in part, through benchmarking successful state policies throughout the country and with input from local employment experts, and is believed to be the first for a governmental agency in Western Pennsylvania. Wagner created the policy with three objectives in mind: to retain employees, to attract talented new employees, and to save taxpayers real dollars and cents by forgoing additional retraining costs in hiring new employees.  Additionally, employees will save money spent on costly childcare, additional FMLA costs, etc. because they will have less unplanned time away from the office.
“While the policy we implemented for the 100 employees in the Controller’s Office was a small step, we have been able to see the benefits for our employees,” Wagner said. “With the majority of two-parent households consisting of two working parents, to be successful, government needs policies that are responsive to our workers and today’s realities. This is also a tangible way for elected leaders to address the gender wage disparities. I am proud that Pittsburgh and Allegheny County’s elected leaders are prioritizing these policies, and applaud them for taking this step to make this necessary change.
Wagner is a mother of two boys, ages 3 and 5, and lives in North Point Breeze with her family.