Today, in a huge win for families, Louisiana enacted paid parental leave for state government employees. Governor John Bel Edwards signed a rule passed by the Louisiana State Civil Service Commission and enacted an executive order to provide Louisiana state government employees with 6 weeks of paid parental leave. The policy, which takes effect January 1, 2024, covers 70,000 employees, permitting them to bond with a new baby, foster, or adopted child without sacrificing their financial security or depriving them of their accrued sick days.
A Better Balance is proud to have been a part of the campaign that led to the enactment of this policy as a member of the Louisiana Paid Family and Medical Leave Coalition, alongside partners including the Louisiana Budget Project and the Louisiana Public Health Institute.
A Better Balance’s Louisiana-based Legal Fellow Carmen McCoy said in a statement: “Paid parental leave is not only an invaluable protection for families, but also a win for the State of Louisiana and its overall economy. Paid parental leave boosts employee retention and morale, enhances the financial security of families, and promotes better health outcomes for both parents and children. Providing paid parental leave for state employees brings Louisiana in line with peer states across the South that have enacted similar policies, including Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, and South Carolina. This policy will help the state be more competitive in recruiting and retaining valuable employees, especially since some leading private sector employers already provide paid parental leave.”
Our public comment on Louisiana Civil Service Commission Rule 11.36 is available here. While this policy is a significant step in the right direction for the State of Louisiana, there is still room for improvement, as it only provides 6 weeks of paid leave and a limited 12-week window in which to take the leave. Additional efforts are needed to expand this critical protection to private sector workers as well. A Better Balance’s Southern Office will continue to build on this exciting public sector momentum to advocate for comprehensive paid family and medical leave for all Southern families.