As the debate surrounding federally guaranteed paid leave rages on, private institutions have been left to their own devices. And on Wednesday, the Mormon Church released a plan to offer its full-time employees paid parental leave.
The new employee benefits offer women who give birth six weeks of paid maternity leave and adoptive mothers one week, The Washington Post reports. Fathers now also have one week of paid leave when having or adopting a new child.
The Mormon Church follows a few other religious organizations that have instituted paid parental leave programs, including the Archdiocese of Chicago, which began offering employees 12 weeks last summer.
An article posted internally for employees of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, "The Church continually strives to build the best work environment possible by aligning policies and benefits to help employees provide their very best work to building the Lord’s kingdom."
The benefits won't apply to Mormon missionaries, however.
The U.S. is the only industrialized nation that doesn't guarantee paid maternity leave. Although a few Republican politicians such as Sens. Marco Rubio and Deb Fischer (and now Ivanka Trump) have expressed interest in passing national paid parental leave policies, it's traditionally been championed by Democrats. But, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' move to provide parents with the protection of paid leave signals that at least some Republicans are on board. (After all, studies show that 70% of Mormons are Republican.)
The church's plan certainly isn't perfect. It favors birth mothers over adoptive mothers and only gives fathers a fraction of the paid time off their wives get. But, it's a start — one that could mean more conservatives support paid leave policies nationwide.