LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Thousands of Los Angeles city employees will now have access to six weeks of paid parental leave under a new program announced by Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Council President Nury Martinez.

The Paid Parental Time pilot program will provide six weeks of paid time off for civilian employees who are new parents. If the pilot is successful, it will be extended to fire and police sworn personnel, but will not be available to LADWP employees.

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“There’s an unsaid assumption that women will work through their maternity leave. You’re expected to give birth and get back to work,” Martinez said in a statement. “Today is an incredibly important day for all families who work for the City of Los Angeles. Mothers and fathers should not be financially penalized in our City for taking time off for pregnancy disability and/or to bond with their new child.”

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The city cited data that showed women, especially those of color, have lost more jobs than men over the course of the pandemic.

The pilot will run retroactively from Jan. 1 through June 30, 2025. Six months before the pilot expires, city officials will work with labor partners to consider the success of the program, negotiate any proposed changes, and decide whether to make it permanent.

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But Garcetti has pledged to make gender equity a priority, and women now hold more than 50 percent of the positions on more than 40 boards and commissions in Los Angeles, and there are no all-male commissions for the first time in the city’s history. Officials say more than 66% of the city’s deputy mayors are women, and the rate of women hired in the fire department has more than doubled.