In Council News, Katherine Gilmore Richardson by Khara Garcia

This historic investment included in the City’s FY25 budget will support organizations working to end the Black maternal health crisis and provide City workers with eight weeks of paid parental leave

PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia City Council Majority Leader Katherine Gilmore Richardson (At-Large) hosted a rally to announce the City of Philadelphia’s historic $8 million investment to address the Black maternal health crisis and expand paid parental leave for City of Philadelphia employees.

This $8 million investment was requested by Majority Leader Gilmore Richardson to be included in the City’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget that goes into effect July 1, 2024. It provides:

  • $1 million in additional funding to support community-based organizations leading the charge on addressing the Black maternal health crisis in Philadelphia; resources for residents to receive in-home lactation support, which is not covered by Medicaid; and additional funding for doula services
  • $6 million to expand paid parental leave for City employees from six weeks to eight weeks
  • $1 million to commission a study to explore City-funded and operated childcare for City of Philadelphia employees

“Advancing Black maternal health, expanding paid parental leave, and uplifting City workers have been some of my top priorities throughout my time as a member of Philadelphia City Council,” said Majority Leader Gilmore Richardson. “As a working mom with three children, I know firsthand the challenges parents face as they seek to build a healthy future for their families. This historic $8 million investment represents the City of Philadelphia’s commitment to ensuring that Philadelphians are able to build strong and prosperous families from the womb to the classroom.”

A report published by the Philadelphia Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) found that non-Hispanic Black women are about four times more likely to die of pregnancy related causes than non-Hispanic white women. In fact, the United States continues to have the highest maternal mortality rate among all other high-income nations. According to a June 2024 report by the Commonwealth Fund, American women and birthing people are two, sometimes three, times more likely than people in other high-income nations to die preventable deaths in pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum. The report further notes that nearly two out of every three U.S. maternal death occurs during the postpartum period, up to 42 days following birth. Compared to women and birthing people in the other countries studied, Americans are the least likely to have supports such as guaranteed paid leave during this critical time.

A 2022 report from the Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC) Center for Health Justice found that Black women and women with lower incomes were significantly less likely to take paid leave than their white counterparts and those with higher incomes. As a consequence, Black women were more likely to have postpartum depression when compared to their white or Hispanic counterparts. AAMC’s report also found that more than half of the “total costs of maternal morbidity for U.S. births in 2019 were due to adverse maternal mental health conditions, including postpartum depression.”

Last budget cycle, Majority Leader Gilmore Richardson secured $2.1 million to expand paid parental leave from four weeks to six weeks. Other major cities such as Chicago and New York City, in addition to Montgomery County, PA, offer employees 12 weeks of paid leave. Unlike other cities that offer paid parental leave, City of Philadelphia employees receive 100 percent of their salary throughout the duration of their leave and there is no required length of service to be granted parental leave.

The $1 million secured in the FY25 budget to commission a study exploring City-funded and operated childcare for City of Philadelphia employees comes as the City prepares for the return to fully in-person work starting July 15. As City employees will no longer work on a hybrid schedule, they must now make accommodations for childcare and aftercare.

A study conducted by the nonprofit Moms First found that 45 percent of women respondents with children ages zero to five cited the availability or cost of childcare as a reason they left the workforce. According to federal data, the cost of childcare in Philadelphia County ranges from $12,000 to $18,000 a year for center-based childcare for one infant. With the median family income in Philadelphia County being $53,090, childcare costs can represent 22.5 percent of a family’s income.

“We know that the United States is the only high-income nation that does not offer citizens federally mandated paid parental leave,” said Majority Leader Gilmore Richardson. “This makes paid parental leave a reproductive justice issue that specifically impacts Black birthing people. When I gave birth to my son in 2016, I only had four weeks of paid parental leave and was forced to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. We must continue to expand paid leave for City employees and provide them with reasonable accommodations to balance their work and family responsibilities.”

Additional information on how the City of Philadelphia’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget moves Philadelphians forward can be found online.



Majority Leader Katherine Gilmore Richardson is the youngest person to be elected majority leader and the youngest Black woman ever elected to Philadelphia City Council. As an at-large councilmember, she has championed issues such as advancing workforce development opportunities, protecting Philadelphia’s fiscal stability, uplifting working parents, addressing quality of life issues, and ensure environmental justice and climate resiliency. Stay updated at PHLCouncil.com, on Facebook & Instagram @CouncilmemberKGR and on Twitter @CouncilwomanKGR. 

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