AURORA | For the first time Aurora City Council members are expected to have a maternity policy that allows for new moms to more easily be available for city meetings and votes.
At-large Councilmember Allison Hiltz, who is expecting a baby in April, initiated the policy update. The wording of the updated rule passed the city council. The resolution of support for the city council policy will now go to the rules committee, which is typically called up by the acting mayor pro tem.
“It wasn’t until my husband and I chose to start a family of our own that I realized that council doesn’t have a maternity policy,” Hiltz previously told the Sentinel. “I don’t think this was by design, I think it was more likely an oversight. After all, when I got elected, the average age of council members was 65, so this probably wasn’t something that was on their radar.”
The update to the council rules allows accommodations such as appearing remotely for special meetings and executive session. Additionally, accommodations would be made for council members who are present for roll call at city council meetings but not present for a particular vote. This would mean a council member could step out of a live city council meeting to pump or breastfeed.
Tonight City Council approved a new policy that will allow, among other things, new moms to take the time they need after giving birth while also allowing for a smooth transition back to work. I'm proud to be both the catalyst & the sponsor of this important rule. #WhenWomenLead pic.twitter.com/nQXalWf93u
— Allison Hiltz (@AllisonHiltz) February 25, 2020
“These policies will provide protections that allow new parents to take the needed time to bond with their newborn while continuing to serve the people of Aurora. The ability to call in remotely ensures that I can remain an informed and active council member without being forced to choose between being a public servant and a mother,” Hiltz said. “That said, I recognize that I am fortunate to be in a position where I can be both the catalyst and the drafter of such a policy and hope to see protections expanded to other families.”
There is no financial penalty with or without the policy for a city council member not being present at a committee meeting, study session or formal council meeting.
“Without a formal policy it’s kind of just up to council and/or the mayor to decide what’s appropriate, so this will allow actual process and protections,” Hiltz said.
— KARA MASON, Staff Writer