Eric Holcomb

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb

Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — State employees who are the parents of a newborn or newly adopted child soon will be entitled to four weeks paid leave to spend quality time with the newest members of their families.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order Dec. 11 authorizing the paid leave benefit for the approximately 30,000 executive branch employees located throughout the state, beginning Jan. 1.

"This new policy supports families and healthy kids by ensuring parents — both women and men — get the time they need to bond and adjust to a new baby or adopted child," Holcomb said.

According to the governor's office, employees must work for the state at least six months before they are eligible for the benefit.

It can be used anytime within six months after the child arrives. Part-time employees only are entitled to two weeks paid leave.

Holcomb said he expects the policy will "attract more top talent to state government service."

Similarly, Senate Democrats next month plan to file legislation encouraging all Hoosier companies to voluntarily offer paid family leave to their employees who need to care for an ill family member.

"This is an economic and it is an emotional issue that our families face too often: having to do what's right for their family and not being able to pay the bills; or go to work and leave behind a sick family member — it's an impossible choice," said state Sen. David Niezgodski, D-South Bend.

Under federal law, most workers in the United States are eligible for up to 12 weeks unpaid leave following the birth or adoption of a child, or to care for an ailing relative.

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Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.