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We're speaking up for our students and public schools. Visit our Action Center to find out what you can do.
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Issue Explainer

Parental Leave

Schools can be tough places for working parents. Parental leave policies are part of the problem.
family leave
Published: January 5, 2023
Educators and School Staff are parents, too.

Only about one in 10 private-sector workers in the U.S. has access to paid family leave through their employers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, leaving millions of American parents unable to take off from work after the birth or adoption of a child. However, state workers in South Carolina no longer have this problem.

In 2022, South Carolina passed a law providing paid family leave for the birth or adoption of a child for state workers. South Carolina educators and school staff must be provided the same state-funded benefit of six weeks of paid leave after giving birth and up to two weeks of paid time off for co-parents.

Educators and school staff who adopt a child or who are licensed by the Department of Social Services and have a foster child placed in their care must be made eligible for two paid weeks off from work. 

All School Staff deserve to be supported by the Family and Medical Leave Act

In addition to no guarantee to parental leave, many education support professionals (ESPs) are also not eligible for unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) due to the law’s provisions. Learn more about the federal effort to extend FMLA to ESPs. 

School districts paving the way for statewide change

Following the passage of paid family leave for state workers in 2022, several South Carolina school districts, including Florence 1, Rock Hill Schools, and Oconee County, have passed permanent or pilot programs to grant paid family/parental leave to their employees. These districts understand the inevitability of granting this right to educators and school staff in stopping the school staff shortage while ensuring that all employees and their families have dignity.


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