Mayor Durkan Commends Unanimous City Council Passage of ‘Bea’s Law’ to Update City of Seattle Paid Family Care Program

‘Bea’s Law’ Named in Honor of Beatrice Kathryn Alder, Daughter of City of Seattle Employee Rachel Alder

SEATTLE (June 3, 2019) – Mayor Jenny A. Durkan commends the Seattle City Council’s unanimous vote to approve ‘Bea’s Law’ – her legislation to amend the Seattle Municipal Code to provide a City employee who loses a child access to paid family care leave.

“As it was written, the Seattle Municipal Code forced grieving parents to choose between mourning the loss of their child and paying their bills. No City of Seattle employee should be forced to make this decision,” said Mayor Durkan. “With Bea’s Law, we are doing what any employer should do: promising our employees that we will support them during the impossible heartache of losing a child. I am so grateful to Rachel and Erin Alder for their courage to turn their grief into positive change.”

“Today, the Seattle City Council took a step forward in cementing the legacy of Bea. She lived only 36 hours but leaves an indelible mark on the City of Seattle’s family-friendly workplace policies,” said Councilmember M. Lorena González (Pos. 9, Citywide). “As a prime sponsor of Bea’s Law, I know that this law will support members of our City family in every stage of life. While cities and states across the nation are looking to diminish the rights and options of women, the LGBTQ+ community, and workers, Seattle is taking action to support our public-sector workforce and their families. Thank you to Rachel and Erin Alder for sharing Bea’s legacy with us.”

“Erin and Rachel used their personal story to bring attention to the gap in our paid leave policies. Their tireless advocacy, and baby Bea’s short but impactful life, sparked a policy change, ensuring no other family has to suffer through the same experience. As someone who has been a health care and labor champion, I applaud Erin and Rachel for their grassroots organizing in partnership with their union to push for meaningful and lasting change. There is much more to do, and Bea’s parents’ bravery has set us on a path to comprehensive policy change,” said Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda (Pos. 8, Citywide).

“After Bea passed, we found out that we only had three days of paid leave because of how the policy was written at that time – it just added so much to our situation. We are so moved that Bea’s Law will be there in a parent’s darkest moment when the wheels have fallen off all that seems to be reasonable and right. No parent will want to use Bea’s Law, but Bea will always be there to help,” said Rachel and Erin Alder.

This change was first considered following the experience of Rachel Alder, a City employee, and Erin Alder. Rachel and Erin’s daughter, Beatrice “Bea” Kathryn Alder was born on November 15, 2017, and passed away 36 hours later due to medical issues. Due to the City’s policy at the time, Rachel did not qualify for more than three days of paid leave.