The Northwest Seaport Alliance will consider a budget Tuesday (Nov. 1) that includes paid parental leave.
Under the proposal, any seaport alliance employee — man or woman — could take up to four paid weeks off for the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child.
A Port of Seattle parental leave policy took effect in January.
In the first three quarters of this year, 33 Port of Seattle employees took paid parental leave. They used 5,200 hours. Offering the leave cost the port $209,000, said Port of Seattle Commissioner Courtney Gregoire.
“I don’t want to go through the process of adopting a budget (for the seaport alliance) without taking on paid parental leave,” she said.
The benefit is offered for union and nonunion Port of Seattle employees, Gregoire said.
A cost for the benefit for Northwest Seaport Alliance employees was not available.
Port of Tacoma Commissioner Clare Petrich said paid parental leave has not been discussed at the Port of Tacoma, and she didn’t know if that could happen in time for the 2017 budget, which will be considered for adoption Nov. 15.
The 2017 seaport alliance budget predicts $96.8 million in operating expenses and $93.4 million in revenue after expenses are paid, which will be shared equally between the ports of Tacoma and Seattle.
The budget is built on a “conservative cargo forecast,” said David Morrison, the alliance’s deputy treasurer.
“We are not expecting huge growth,” Morrison said at the budget presentation. “We think the shipping lines we have will stay.”
The budget also includes separate funds for projects on the alliance’s five-year capital improvements list at a cost of $270.4 million. In the first year of that five-year plan, the budget proposes the two ports transfer up to $87.8 million to the alliance for projects already authorized by the commissioners.
Much of that includes the reconfiguration of Husky Terminal along Tacoma’s Blair Waterway. The alliance approved the upgrades — realignment of the terminal, four large cranes and shore power — for $141 million this year.
But Port of Tacoma Commissioner Don Meyer said the $270 million is not enough.
“It’s going to take $800 million over five to 10 years to make us competitive,” Meyer said two weeks ago at a seaport alliance meeting. “I don’t want anyone to walk outside of this room and say that takes care of it. It doesn’t.”