More than 1,600 state employees used Paid Parental Leave in the first year the benefit became available through an executive order issued by Governor Roy Cooper. Paid time off was extended to birth mothers to recover and to families to bond with a newborn or a child placed through adoption, fostering or other legal placement.
"Paid Parental Leave supports families and helps our state attract and retain a strong workforce,"
said Governor Roy Cooper, who signed Executive Order 95: Providing Paid Parental Leave (PPL) to Eligible State Employees on May 23, 2019. "Research consistently shows that it promotes wellness for both parent and the child, provides needed time for early family bonding, and improves employee retention and morale."
The order provides eight weeks of fully paid leave for birth mothers to recover and bond with their newborn, and four weeks for other parents to bond with the child; in both cases, leave may be used intermittently. While it applied specifically to Cabinet agencies under the Governor's direction, most other state agencies opted into the benefit for their employees.
With the average age of state employees at 46, and 23% of state employees eligible for full retirement benefits within five years, PPL is a critical recruitment and retention tool to bring new workers into the state workforce, said State Human Resources Director Barbara Gibson.
"Offering Paid Parental Leave quickly established itself as a way to help level the playing field between state government and the private sector,"
Gibson said. "It is important that we are recognized as a workplace with competitive benefits to recruit and retain top workers with in-demand skills and provide needed support that enable them to see public service as a rewarding career choice."
A new report
compiled by the Office of State Human Resources shows that in the first ten months the benefit was available, 1,614 state employees — including 1,006 state agency employees and 608 UNC System employees — used PPL between Sept. 1, 2019 and June 30, 2020:
|State Agency Employees||UNC System Employees|
|377 birth mothers||276 birth mothers|
|629 other eligible parents||332 other eligible parents|
|414 female employees||387 female employees|
|592 male employees||221 male employees|
NOTE: All future reports will align with the fiscal year and report the full twelve month year from July 1 through June 30.
Two of the largest state agencies had the highest number of employees using the benefit: 470 at the Department of Public Safety, and 231 at the Department of Health and Human Services. In the University System, highest use occurred at North Carolina State University, with 228 employees, and UNC Chapel Hill, with 126 employees.
State employees interested in using PPL should discuss their situation with their Agency Human Resources Office.
- Contact: Ford Porter