(Nashville, TN) On April 10, state lawmakers passed legislation to provide Tennessee state government employees with 6 weeks of paid parental leave to recover from childbirth and bond with a new child without sacrificing their income, savings, or sick days. While it is an important step forward, the final policy falls short of the initial proposal, which would have provided 12 weeks of paid parental leave.
“Paid parental leave is a win-win for families, the state, and Tennessee’s overall economy,” said Feroza Freeland, Policy Manager of the Southern Office at A Better Balance. “Paid parental leave is proven to boost employee retention & morale, strengthen economic security for families, and promote better health outcomes for parents and children. We welcome this important first step for working families in our state, and look forward to continuing to build on this progress, so that all Tennessee families have what they need to thrive.”
Providing paid parental leave for state employees brings Tennessee in line with peer states across the region that have enacted similar programs in recent years, including Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. It will also help make the state more competitive in recruiting and retaining employees, since many major private sector employers–including FedEx, Dollar General, First Horizon, and Pilot Flying J–already offer this important protection.
Since the opening of A Better Balance’s regional Southern Office in Nashville in 2014, our organization has advocated for paid family & medical leave for all Tennessee families, so that no one has to make the impossible choice between caring for loved ones or earning a paycheck. Restricted access to reproductive healthcare has only added further urgency to the already pressing need for these protections for both birth and adoptive parents.