(The Center Square) — A new South Carolina law requires school districts to provide parents with up to six weeks of maternity leave and two weeks of paternal leave.
Gov. Henry McMaster signed H.3908 to mandate the leave following a child’s birth, adoption or fostering. Last year, the governor signed Act 149, giving up to six weeks of paid parental leave to state employees.
Under H.3908, employees do not have to use other forms of leave first. In a release, McMaster said the new policy and a 41% increase in starting teacher pay since 2018 will help the state improve its ability to recruit and retain teachers.
“This bill is bigger than paid family leave,” Rep. Neal Collins, R-Pickens, said in an announcement. “The challenge of the 21st century is recruiting and retaining teachers. It is up to us to make sure the best and brightest continue to enter the teaching profession.”
Under the legislation, eligible school district employees are either “defined by the Department of Education using the Professional Certified Staff system” or full-time equivalent positions categorized as classified staff.
A South Carolina Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office estimate indicated the measure would not impact state Department of Education expenditures. However, it is not clear how much the policy might cost local districts.
According to the analysis, a survey of about three dozen school districts revealed it could cost a district anywhere from roughly $12,000 to more than $3.3 million