PAID PARENTAL LEAVE: THE LATEST STATE TO JOIN THE PACK
The availability of paid parental leave for state government employees has accelerated dramatically over the last five years, with Louisiana the most recent one to provide this benefit in 2023 to both mothers and fathers who are employed by the state. It joins Arizona, Nevada, Tennessee, and Texas as new paid parental leave states this year, adding up to 35 in all.
In a highly competitive labor market, “a lot of states have seen this as not only benefitting their employees, but the state government, as well,” said Feroza Freeland, in a November 15th interview with us. She is policy manager in the southern office of A Better Balance, a national nonprofit legal and advocacy organization that advocates for paid family & medical leave policies.
This new policy resulted from a rule that was passed for classified employees by the Louisiana State Civil Service Commission and signed by outgoing Governor John Bel Edwards, who also signed an executive order providing unclassified employees with paid parental leave as well.
A map on A Better Balance’s website, shows the states that do and don’t have parental leave policies. By clicking on the state, viewers can link to that state’s law, and, by scrolling down, can see some of the details of what the policy offers state-employed workers.
Freeland noted several impressive elements about Louisiana’s new plan. It covers part-time, as well as full-time workers, provides benefits equally to both parents and includes paid leave for adoptive parents and foster placement. What’s more, new parents do not have to use sick leave or vacation time before accessing parental leave.
There is, however, some room for improvement, Freeland said. The paid parental leave period covers six weeks, which is slightly short of the eight-week median. (A handful of states offer 12-paid weeks, including Arizona and Colorado.)
The states that don’t have paid parental leave for their own employees, according to A Better Balance are: Alabama, Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The “A Better Balance” map also includes Arkansas and Oklahoma as states without paid parental leave because of the limited version of what they offer.
Two additional notes:
In today’s edition of the B&G Weekly Selection of management news we also cover the final report of the Alabama Governor’s Study Group on Efficiency in State Government. One of the recommendations within the report is to institute paid parental leave.
If you are interested in state and local employee leave policies generally, we are the authors of a 2021 report called “Employee Leave in the Public Sector: Current Challenges and Solutions,” available here.
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