de blasio
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is shown announcing a new initiative for public housing for homeless people Nov. 18, 2015, in New York. Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Twenty-thousand public employees in New York City will be offered six weeks of paid parental leave, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday. The offer will be among the most generous family leave policies in the country, according to a statement from his office, and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2016.

The plan was expected to cover maternity, paternity, adoption and foster care leave. De Blasio, among the country’s most liberal mayors, will enact the plan by executive order. The benefits will initially apply only to non-unionized workers.

“Too many new parents face an impossible choice: taking care of their child or getting their paycheck,” de Blasio said in the statement. “This is a common-sense policy that will make for healthier and more financially stable working families.”

To pay for the added benefits, longtime employees who currently receive 27 vacation days per year will lose two of those days, and the city will also cancel a planned 0.47 percent raise for managers that was scheduled for 2017. The parental-leave benefits will cost some $15 million, and combined with existing paid time off, some employees will be eligible for as many as 12 weeks off, WNYC reported.

“I remember after Chiara was born, just our economic reality was that Chirlane had to go back to work very quickly,” de Blasio told WNYC, referencing his daughter and wife, respectively. “She has always felt a tension over that. She didn’t feel good about not being able to spend more time with Chiara.”

Paid family leave has become increasingly common in the private sector in an effort to make businesses more appealing to employees. The benefit remains rare in the public sector, however. Very few American cities offer paid leave. The U.S. is one of two countries — the other Papua New Guinea — that does not guarantee some form of paid parental leave.