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Senate bill extending unpaid maternity leave for state workers passes Senate vote

(KOKH/FILE)

A bill extending maternity leave for Oklahoma State workers passes a second vote in the Senate.

The bill would extend unpaid maternity leave to 20 weeks. It failed by a slight margin when it was first voted on last week. but Senator David Holt called for a second vote, where it passed Monday.

Last week, Senate Bill 549 was shot down by just two Senate votes. The bill that would extend unpaid maternity leave for Oklahoma State workers from 12 to 20 weeks, lost in a 22-20 vote. Six lawmakers were also absent.

Holt, along with the Oklahoma Women's Coalition, did not take no for an answer.

"If we can't pass this I'm concerned because we haven't had a raise in 10 years and now our benefits are starting to fall behind. So there will be fewer and fewer reasons to go into a life of public service and we need to retain these folks here in Oklahoma," Holt said.

The bill will go to the House for a vote.

"We know that when they do stay home with them a little longer that helps the health outcomes of both the mom and the baby," said Danielle Ezell, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Women's Coalition.

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