HB 1010: Doubles the Number of Weeks For Paid Parental Leave

Source: Michael Kordahi, “mother child,” 2006. Accessed via flicker.com CC BY-SA 2.0.


On January 24th, House Bill 1010 was introduced to the Georgia General Assembly by State Rep. Jan Jones (R- Milton), Rep. Deborah Silcox (R- Sandy Springs), Rep. Katie Demspey (R- Rome), and Rep. Lauren Daniel (R- Locust Grove). The bill would increase the number of hours permitted for paid parental leave for public officers and employees. On February 15th, HB1010 was passed by the House, and on March 21st, the bill was passed by the Senate and adopted by substitute. The bill originated as a partisan bill with seven Republican sponsors. HB1010 soon became well received and both political parties began promoting the bill on social media platforms in hopes of passing it. The bill was bi-partisan which was extremely unique in Georgia legislation. Supporters believe increased parental leave would be beneficial for public health and would help strengthen the workforce. 

Georgia Values Action is a non-profit group that works to improve economic and healthcare related policies that reflect the needs of the middle-class Georgia workforce. Georgia Values Action supported HB1010 and believes it will increase the health of working families and create a more competitive workforce. The group heavily advocated on Twitter for the bill to be passed and even highlighted it as their top priority on the platform.  

People are not only advocating for Georgia’s middle-class workforce but also for low-income workers. The New York-based organization A Better Balance advocates for policy change to ensure all working people, especially low-wage workers, have the ability to care for themselves and their families. The group has a confidential and free helpline that offers advice and legal support to workers in jeopardy. Additionally, they have published a book and web-based resources that including information documenting workplace regulations relevant to mothers returning to work after giving birth in Georgia. Even though the group is based out of state, it reached out specifically to Georgians on X with a “sample phone script” for voters to use in contacting lawmakers.

9 to 5 Georgia fights for worker justice and family sustainability by engaging with women directly affected to help improve their working conditions.By hosting a screening of “Zero Weeks”, a documentary advocating for paid leave, at the Latin American Association, 9 to 5 Georgia proved their commitment and support of the HB 1010. In being the first to use the hashtag #paidleaveforallGA during the first month of this year’s General Assembly and using it throughout the session, 9 to 5 Georgia became an important voice supporting HB 1010.

Representatives from 9 to 5 Georgia also went to the State Capitol to urge politicians to pass the bill. Rep. Betsy Holland (D- Atlanta), in posting her picture with 9 to 5 Georgia members to X, indicated her intention to vote for HB 1010. Holland, whose Atlanta district includes parts of Brookhaven and Buckhead, included a section in her “end of the session” wrap up blog post that named HB 1010 as one of the most helpful new pieces of legislation for Georgians. The bi-partisan support of the bill continues to grow and is exemplified through politicians and digital stakeholders.

HB1010 passed out of the House chamber on February 15th. Republican Representative and HB1010 sponsor, Lauren Daniel (R- Locust Grove) turned to X to show her excitement about the bill and how it will support Georgia families. Daniel represents more conservative voters in metro Atlanta’s south-eastern suburbs. Given her willingness to engage in spirited political debate with Democratic lawmakers on X, it’s a noteworthy bill that has her support and the left leaning organizations previously mentioned. The language around Daniel’s re-election campaign is consistent with the struggles of motherhood raised in the bill.

On March 21st, five weeks after HB1010 passed out of the House, HB1010 passed in the Senate. The main sponsor in the Senate, State Sen. Brian Strickland (R-McDonough), celebrated with a tweet on X. Interestingly, Strickland’s and Daniel’s districts overlap with some commonality around McDonough. Similar to Daniel, Strickland’s re-election site and social media identity foregrounds pictures of his children and the language of family. These three lawmakers (Holland, Daniel, and Strickland) speak to the bipartisanship surrounding HB 1010 while also evidencing a small amount of social media engagement in each post: less than 10 likes each even though Holland and Strickland have thousands of followers.

X user, Elizabeth Edmonds says HB1010 is a “common sense piece of legislation.” The bill doubles the amount of weeks for paid parental leave, including for adoptive parents. Just a week after the bill was introduced digital stakeholders urged for it to be passed. Edwards is active in conservative political discussion online.

Paid Leave For All is the national campaign of the organizations leading the fight for paid family and medical leave for all working people. X user Kim Evon, Executive Vice President of SEIU 2015 (a service workers union in California), replies to the campaign in support of paid leave for all. She advocated for the petition of over 70 businesses to close their doors to send a message to Congress to pass the bill for paid leave. Advocacy for paid leave expressed across the internet helped call attention around the time of the vote on HB 1010 even though this tweet does not mention the bill.

X user Desirrae Thomas shared a tweet comparing laws around separating puppies from their mothers and laws protecting paid parental leave. It’s worth noting that even though Thomas has fewer followers than Holland or Strickland above her tweet gained more views and user engagement, potentially because she attached her comment to a tweet with a larger audience. She is calling attention to the fact that, before the bill, the state of Georgia’s paid leave policy was not enough.

On March 26th, the House agreed to the Senate substitute of HB1010 and the bill is currently awaiting signature by Governor Brian Kemp. What started as a partisan Republican bill has become a bi-partisan piece of legislation that will double paid parental leave. The bill will also guarantee access for employees of state and public schools.

Paid parental leave is a major discussion of advancement in the state of Georgia. Although the use of money will always be heavily debated, lawmakers have the ability to allow it to go towards causes both parties support, which include increased hours permitted for paid parental leave for public officers and employees. The new version of HB1010 states that upon hire, employees should be notified of these benefits and annually thereafter. In its report titled “Paid Parental Leave: OPM Should Take Steps to Further Raise the Awareness of the Program” published this year by the United States Government Accountability Office attended the security and viability that expanding parental leave gives to workers. The authors write that “paid parental leave influenced the decision of many employees to remain in the federal government.” As of April 17, the bill is awaiting to be signed by Governor Brian Kemp.

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