Metro Transit provides paid parental leave and other benefits to keep workers
ST. LOUIS — Metro Transit’s board of directors on Friday approved up to four weeks of parental leave and other new benefits as a way to retain employees and attract new ones, amid an ongoing worker shortage.
The $2.6 million package also includes grants for child and elder care, and up to $5,250 for tuition reimbursement or student loan payment assistance.
“We need to make dramatic changes to the way we compete for talent, both through recruitment and retention, so that we can maintain the levels of customer service needed to drive our region forward,” said Taulby Roach, CEO of Bi-State Development. Agency, said after Bi-State board approval.
A continued shortage of bus drivers and other employees has been responsible for missed bus rides and unreliable bus service, Bi-State said. Last month, there were 2,055 missed bus trips, or more than 2%. This follows regular service cuts over the past year.
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In the first three quarters of this year, the agency said it hired 368 new employees, but 469 left.
Last month, Metro had a 20% shortage of bus drivers, with only 631 of 789 positions filled. The agency also lacked 13 MetroLink operators, 71 paratransit van drivers and 52 mechanics.
The plan approved on Friday also includes new anti-bias and anti-racism training for managers; money for “small recognition” pay raises and public transit passes for employees’ family members.
Bi-State/Metro also plans to develop a company-wide application to improve direct communication with drivers and other employees who do not have access to email.
Officials in two states have yet to release details on when the new incentives will take effect and said they are subject to change.
Bi-State/Metro is currently negotiating a new contract with its main employee union.