SC teachers now qualify for paid parental leave after Governor signs bill into law

ROCK HILL, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) – South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster held a ceremonial signing on this Wednesday for Paid Parental Leave, H. 3908.

The new law provides school district employees in the state who are welcoming a child into their family paid leave.

The Rock Hill School District participated in a pilot program for the law last school year and today CN2’s Renee O’Neil learns how this new legislation is already impacting school staff.

Welcoming a child into your family can bring so much joy.

“She has been a delight”, says Jobeth Faile.

For Rock Hill School District employee, Jobeth Faile, welcoming her now 8 month old baby girl, Murphy into the world was even more joyful knowing she had 6 weeks of paid maternity leave.

Now all full-time school district employees across the state are provided with up to six weeks of paid maternity leave and two weeks of paid paternal leave for employees due to the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.

This is thanks to the new Paid Parental Leave for School District Employees Law in South Carolina.

Rock Hill School District Superintendent Dr. Tommy Schmolze says the district took part in a pilot program last school year in an effort to recruit and retain staff.

31 families, including Faile took advantage of the program.

The program is funded by each school district involved and Schmolze says last year Rock Hill schools spent around $139,000 dollars.

He says although state funding is ideal, the program, he hopes will keep teachers in the school district.

“Think about what it costs to train a teacher that leaves the profession, the return investment, far outweighs that risk”, says Schmolze.

Reporters asked Governor Henry McMaster about any funding concerns. McMaster say, ” there’s not additional funding for this program but those in the school districts that we’ve talked to say they believe it will actually end up saving money. It helps with retention, it helps with recruitment with teachers.”

As for Jobeth, she’s back at work, but has wonderful memories of her time she had at home with her baby daughter.

“Its so important for the future parents, whether that be adoption, foster, dad, mom, whatever”, says Faile.

State officials say the new law also means employees do not have to exhaust all other forms of leave before being eligible to take paid parental leave. But if they want to stay out longer, there are options to do that as well such as FMLA and paid time off.

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