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ST. LOUIS NEWS TODAY -

Mercy Offers Paid Parental Leave to 40K Co-workers
ST. LOUIS, MO, (PRNewswire-USNewswire), June 16, 2018 - While paid parental leave is fairly standard in other developed countries, it's less common in the U.S., particularly in the health care industry. Two weeks of paid parental leave are now available to nearly 40,000 Mercy co-workers across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

For co-workers, it's no small change. Heather Schroeder, a registered nurse in Ozark, Missouri, has fostered children for nearly four years.

"Placement of foster children comes with the same joy and challenges as a birth or adoption," she said. "To be honest, foster placements often come with more challenges because you are unable to prepare for the children in your home before they come and there are many requirements and tasks to complete within the first week they are placed. I am so thankful to work for Mercy and appreciate that every family, no matter how God chooses to bring them together, is valued."

In 2017, Mercy surveyed co-workers about benefits and services. Mercy listened and then took action.

"Paid parental leave was one of the top concerns," said Cindy Rosburg, Mercy's chief human resources officer. "In the U.S., only about 10 percent of health care organizations offer paid parental leave. Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, never married or had children herself, but she adopted children. She founded the order in Ireland almost 200 years ago to help address critical human needs, especially those of children and mothers. For Mercy, providing paid parental leave is the right thing to do. Catherine would be proud."

For Mercy, it's a significant commitment. With 54 percent of Mercy's nursing workforce under age 40, compared with an industry average of 37 percent, Mercy has a higher ratio of employees at the prime age for having children. In 2017 alone, nearly 1,000 Mercy co-workers gave birth. Although the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires all large employers to provide 12 weeks of unpaid leave, the U.S. has no law requiring paid leave.

In addition to paid parental leave, Mercy is piloting a program to provide child and elder care assistance. Mercy also recently rolled out a program for co-workers to refinance student loans, as well as share the benefit with family and friends. One co-worker refinanced a $314,244 loan, the largest submitted to date, and will likely save almost $80,000 over the life of the loan.

Like paid parental leave, these were some of co-workers' top concerns.

"This is amazing," said Amber Schuster, a licensed practical nurse at a Mercy Clinic in Oklahoma City, who is pregnant with her second child. "This is an awesome program for new moms and dads. Baby bonding is so vital and few companies recognize the need for dads to have that as well."


Board of Estimate and Apportionment Approves Contract for Airport Advisor Team to Explore Privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport
ST. LOUIS, MO, (slfp.com), June 16, 2018 - On June 13, the St. Louis City Board of Estimate and Apportionment approved a consulting agreement with Moelis & Company, McKenna & Associates, Grow Missouri, Inc., and a broad range of other advisors naming them the City's advisor team as City leaders consider privatizing the management and operation of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

The purpose of exploring the opportunity for a third-party to manage and operate the airport is to determine if airline and other related services can be improved for our residents, businesses and visitors, and how the City can make the airport a stronger asset to improve our economic development future. The City is not selling the airport in connection with this process.

No taxpayer money will be paid to the advisor team during the evaluation process. Grow Missouri, Inc. will pay the cost of all professional services and expenses incurred by the advisor team during a public bidding process, which will include both a request for qualifications (RFQ) and request for proposals (RFP). Grow Missouri, Inc. will be reimbursed for such costs only if the City reaches a final agreement with a private operator.

Comptroller Darlene Green issued a statement regarding the privatization: "Today at the Board of Estimate and Apportionment I voted against approving an advisory consulting agreement for the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport. The Comptroller's Office does not support this effort to trade Lambert's successful fiscal management and positive growth for the risks of privatization.

Lambert Airport has been a public entity since 1928 when St. Louis voters approved a $2 million bond issue to buy the airport property. Over 90 years Lambert has served the people of our region through good and bad economic times. Currently, the airport is in a strong financial position showing 31 straight months of passenger growth, two credit rating upgrades and added international flights.

Privatization would disrupt this growth. Our airport is an asset for the city, and a private entity beholden to shareowners, not consumers, would put bottom-line profit over public service.

To abandon the long and successful history of Lambert as a municipal airport through this politically expedient process is wrong. As today's E&A vote to advance the privatization process passed 2-to-1 and the Airport Commission was left out of this decision, a public vote must be part of the process to decide the fate of the airport.


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