On Thursday state Sen. Missy Irvin of Mountain View filed a bill that’s a bit of a rejoinder to Little Rock Rep. Clarke Tucker’s maternity leave bill.
Irvin is a Republican and Tucker’s a Democrat.
Late last year Tucker filed House Bill 1046 that would give state employees six-weeks paid maternity leave or $500 a week, whichever is more.
On Thursday Sen. Missy Irvin filed Senate Bill 125. It would also codify state employees’ rights to maternity leave, but not as an employment benefit funded by state agencies. Rather, it calls for maternity leave to be treated as any other leave for sickness or disability, and for the first time would make available hours from the Catastrophic Leave Bank, a pool of accrued annual and sick leave that employees donate unused hours to in order for other employees desperate for paid leave to draw upon.
Tucker said he’s happy the Republican Party is taking up the issue of maternity leave. It's not a threat to his own bill, though presumably both will not make it to the governor's desk.