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Cherokee Nation signs policy giving new parents paid leave after birth, adoption

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A photo of Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner signing the new family leave policy that provides all qualifying parents who work fulltime for Cherokee Nation with paid time off for the birth of a child or adoption through the tribe’s Indian Child Welfare department. Provided by the Cherokee Nation on August 19, 2022.

The Cherokee Nation has created a policy that gives new parents time off when they have or adopt a baby.

Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said the new family leave policy provides all qualifying parents who work fulltime for the tribe with paid time off for the birth of a child or adoption through the tribe’s Indian Child Welfare department.

Officials said the policy also expands the tribe’s existing paid foster parent leave by adding an extra five days.

"We know it’s crucial to provide new parents with paid time off as they experience the birth of a child, and for years the Cherokee Nation has provided eight weeks paid leave for mothers who work for the tribe," Chief Hoskin said. "Our new policy ensures we not only continue offering our maternal leave, but that we have found a way to recognize and support the many wonderful ways our employees’ families can be structured."

Under the new policy, qualifying parents who do not currently qualify for maternity leave now have up to two weeks of paid leave, payable at 100% of their salary for the birth or adoption of a child.

Deputy Chief Warner said he and Chief Hoskin Jr. are fathers, and that this issue is very near and dear to their hearts.

“Providing time for both parents to be available and tuned in to the needs of their family unit is priceless. That is also true of our employees who are foster or adoptive parents," Warner said. "When an employee chooses to open their hearts and their homes to children, whether they are fostering or adopting, our updated policy now provides them an option to take even more time to really focus in on that new family unit.”

Cherokee Nation government employees qualify for the new family leave if they've worked regular fulltime jobs for the tribe for at least one year from the date of the child’s birth or adoption date.

The adoption must be completed through Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare.

Before making her way to Public Radio Tulsa, KWGS News Director Cassidy Mudd worked as an assignment editor and digital producer at a local news station. Her work has appeared on ABC, CBS, and NBC affiliates across the country.