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Cherokee Nation Institutes Progressive Maternity Leave Policy

The Cherokee Nation adopts a policy giving its female employees eight weeks of paid maternity leave.

Principal Chief Bill John Baker said the tribe’s leaders weren’t worried about the financial feasibility of the policy.

"The joy of having a child should not be a financial burden to anybody," Baker said.

Previously, women had to exhaust their sick leave and vacation time if they wanted their full salaries.

"We really think that it's a good investment not only in our employees, but in their newborn children," Baker said.

Mothers who have worked for the tribe for a year or more and are covered by its medical insurance qualify.

The Cherokee Nation instituted the new policy at the start of the year.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.