Gov. John Carney joined members of the general assembly Jan. 9 to call for passage of legislation that would offer 12 weeks of paid parental leave to state workers.

The bill, House Bill 3, would allow state workers to care for their families without losing wages and would make Delaware the sixth state to offer the benefit to public workers.

Carney hosted the announcement in his Legislative Hall office as lawmakers returned to Dover for the second half of the 149th General Assembly.

“Delaware can and should lead on this issue,” said Carney. “This legislation is about supporting our state workers — and creating a workplace that values family. Workers deserve time to spend with their families when their children are born, and this benefit will help us attract and keep good employees. Thank you to the state workers, members of the general assembly, and advocates who are leading on this issue. I urge lawmakers to offer their full support for this legislation.”

The U.S. is one of nine countries in the world — and the only industrialized nation — that does not offer paid maternity leave and one of a handful of high-wealth nations that does not offer paid paternity or parental leave. House Bill 3 would make Delaware a leader on the issue. Under the legislation, full-time state employees, including teachers, would be eligible for 12 weeks of paid maternity or paternity leave after one year of employment. New parents would be eligible for leave for up to one year after the birth of a child or the adoption of a child younger than 6.

Delaware would join Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Virginia and Washington, D.C., in extending the benefit to public workers.