Arkansas Capitol

Arkansas State Capitol. (Photo by KATV)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Multiple bills have already been filed ahead of the 2023 Arkansas Legislative Session - covering education, tax credits, parole reform and paid maternity leave.

Rep. Aaron Pilkington, R-District 69, filed a bill that would require certain employers to provide paid maternity leave.

House Bill 1006 would require employers who cover abortions or travel expenses related to abortions to also provide 16 weeks of paid maternity leave to employees who are residents of Arkansas.

"I wanted to pass pro-family policies and I have always been a fan of paid family leave," said Pilkington. "However, I know that it is an expense for a lot of businesses and when I saw that there were businesses that are willing to pay for women to terminate their pregnancies, that they should also be willing to offer women the choice of paid family leave. If these companies truly say that they want to support choice, then they would support women who choose to have children and not just incentivize women to get abortions."

"Arkansas would be the first state in the union, to my knowledge, that would have a paid family leave bill and abortion ban," he added.

This bill would not require employers who do not cover abortion-related expenses to provide paid maternity leave.

The Regular Session of the 94th General Assembly convenes on Jan. 9.