The Iron Workers (IW) and the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) announced last month a new paid maternity leave benefit.

According to the organization, it is “the first to introduce a generous paid maternity leave benefit in the building trades” and is something “virtually unheard of” in the industry.

The Iron Workers’ paid maternity leave includes six months of pre-delivery maximum benefit and six to eight weeks of post-delivery benefit. Regardless of what was covered pre‐delivery, the ironworker member will be eligible for up to six weeks of paid leave after the birth of the child and two additional weeks for Cesarean deliveries, according to the announcement.

“I’m extremely excited about this policy and I think it’s going to help with retention of ironworker women and encourage them to build a career,” Iron Worker representative Vicki O’Leary said last month during a panel at the 2017 Iron Workers/IMPACT Conference. “It’s one more step in achieving greater diversity in our trade.”

The IW represents 130,000 ironworkers in North America who work in construction on bridges; structural steel; ornamental, architectural, and miscellaneous metals; rebar; and in shops.

“We are very proud to be the first to introduce a paid maternity program in the building trades,” said Eric Dean, general president of the Iron Workers, in a statement. “It’s about time we make our industry a level playing field for women and make diversity and inclusion a priority.”