In Seattle, Commissioner Courtney Gregoire has unveiled the Port of Seattle’s new paid parental leave plan for port employees. The new plan offers up to four weeks paid leave for parents to bond with their children.

The new benefit is available to employees for the birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a new child.

“The Port of Seattle is proud to be a leader in providing paid parental leave for our employees,” said Gregoire in a prepared statement. “As a mom of two young children, I know how important those early days are for recovery and bonding. It’s past time to realize that paid leave is good for families and good for business.”

“With this new paid parental leave plan, I don’t have to worry about whether I have the available sick leave or personal time off,” said Karmeli Cayetano, a port employee who works in accounting. “With my first child that was a big problem. With my second child expected in March, I know that I will have the time with my newborn.”

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, paid parental leave increases worker retention and reduces turnover, saving significant costs associated with replacing employees. The Port of Seattle’s plan offers four weeks of paid leave up front, so employees do not have to use vacation or sick leave first. The port said it aims to provide incentives that retain and attract employees in this competitive economic environment.

“The Martin Luther King County Labor Council applauds the Port of Seattle for its support of working women and all working families, for providing this benefit to parents. Policies like this are important because they help address gender pay disparity and attract the best people to serve our Port,” said Martin Luther King Jr. county labor council executive secretary Nicole Grant.