Government

Gov. Kim Reynolds encourages state employees to do volunteer work

Adam Lounsbury (from left), executive director of Volunteer Iowa, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Gov. Kim Reynolds talk about a new volunteer program for state employees during a news conference Tuesday at the Ronald McDonald House near Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines where family members of hospital patients are able to stay. (Rod Boshart/The Gazette)
Adam Lounsbury (from left), executive director of Volunteer Iowa, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and Gov. Kim Reynolds talk about a new volunteer program for state employees during a news conference Tuesday at the Ronald McDonald House near Iowa Methodist Hospital in Des Moines where family members of hospital patients are able to stay. (Rod Boshart/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Iowa consistently ranks high nationally in volunteerism, and Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she wants state government to be part of that effort as one of Iowa’s largest employers.

Speaking at her weekly news conference, Reynolds said she has directed the Iowa Department of Administrative Services to develop a volunteer policy to encourage state employees make a difference in their communities through volunteerism.

“Volunteering is as Iowan as pork chop on a stick at the State Fair,” Reynolds said in promoting a new push for volunteerism among state workers.

Department of Administrative Service officials will collaborate with all state department directors to consider how the policy best functions to benefit employees in all departments — including whether to provide paid time off for volunteer work and how to build flexibility into the process, Reynolds said.

“I’m excited about it,” the governor said. “I think it’s a way that we can have an impact, and it’s a way that our employees can give back, as well.”

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, Reynolds said, about 26 percent of U.S. employers offer paid time off for volunteering.

“Studies show that it not only boosts employee engagement and morale, but it also increases productivity, recruitment and retention, and the bottom line, as well. So volunteerism is a win-win for everyone,” she said.

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Reynolds made the announcement at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Iowa in Des Moines, where members of her administration’s team planned to spend part of the day volunteering. Ronald McDonald House offers a temporary residence for families with children who are hospitalized or receiving treatment for a serious medical condition.

“Every day, Iowans step up and make a difference together through volunteerism,” the governor said. “Nationally, it is estimated that one in four employers offer some kind of paid volunteer time off, and we want to grow that here in Iowa.”

Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg will attend a volunteer award ceremony Thursday afternoon at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, and Gregg will attend a similar ceremony Friday at Southeast Polk High School in Pleasant Hill.

Reynolds encouraged Iowa businesses, families and organizations to visit volunteeriowa.org.

Comments: (515) 243-7220; rod.boshart@thegazette.com

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