Louisiana public school teachers and support staff work hard each day to teach and care for children across the state. Paid parental leave ensures they are able to take adequate time to care for their own families when welcoming a new child into their homes without sacrificing their sick days, income or savings. 

Senate Bill 426 by Sen. Sam Jenkins and Rep. Aimee Freeman would provide six weeks of fully paid parental leave for birth, adoption or foster care of a new child for K-12 public school teachers and support staff. The state would share the cost with local school districts by reimbursing them for a share of the cost associated with providing paid parental leave to educators. 

Paid parental leave promotes economic security, improves maternal and child health and ultimately keeps people attached to the workforce. It is a simple way to support educators and ensure that Louisiana schools remain competitive and retain qualified teachers and support staff, leading to stronger families and communities.

Several Southern states have already stepped up to provide paid parental leave to educators. Louisiana can remain competitive with its peer states by implementing this important benefit. By providing the benefit statewide, rural and smaller districts would be on equal footing with larger districts in attracting and retaining talented teachers. In a growing trend, Tennessee,1 North Carolina,2 South Carolina,3 and Georgia4 have all enacted paid parental leave at 100% pay for K-12 educators. Both Tennessee and North Carolina provide recurring state dollars to help offset the cost to local school districts. 

Providing paid parental leave also makes Louisiana schools more competitive with federal and state benefits, both of which provide fully paid parental leave. President  Donald Trump signed the Federal Employee Paid Leave Act of 2019 granting most federal employees 12 weeks of fully-paid parental leave for birth, adoption and foster care.5 Louisiana recently joined over two-thirds of states6 in providing paid parental leave to state classified employees who now receive six weeks of paid parental leave at 100% pay for birth, adoption and foster care through the State Civil Service.7 Unclassified state employees currently receive the same benefit through an Executive Order, which must be renewed by Summer 2024.8 

Paid parental leave is an effective recruitment and retention strategy. Louisiana is facing a critical teacher shortage with over 1,000 unfilled jobs.9 This comes at a cost. Paid parental leave has been shown to strengthen attachment to the workforce, which will help in attracting and retaining qualified educators in the classroom. 

Paid parental leave has positive health and economic benefits for Louisiana educators and their families. In addition to the economic benefits of greater financial security that comes with increased attachment to the workforce, paid parental leave also helps improve the health of mothers, fathers and children. 

Louisiana can support teachers, students, schools and families by implementing paid parental leave through Senate Bill 426. Teachers and support staff deserve time to bond with a new child without the financial hardship of relying on limited sick days or savings. By sharing the costs with local school districts, the state can help districts remain competitive using this important and popular benefit to recruit and retain qualified educators while also benefiting students. This simple policy is a common-sense solution for Louisiana.  

  1. https://publications.tnsosfiles.com/acts/113/pub/pc0399.pdf ↩︎
  2. https://www.ncleg.gov/Sessions/2023/Bills/Senate/PDF/S20v5.pdf (pages 30-31) ↩︎
  3. South Carolina General Assembly, 125th Session, 2023-2024, A17, R53, H3908
    https://www.scstatehouse.gov/sess125_2023-2024/bills/3908.htm ↩︎
  4. https://www.legis.ga.gov/api/legislation/document/20212022/201999 ↩︎
  5.  Trump Approves Paid Parental Leave for Federal Workers, SHRM, December 20, 2019, https://www.shrm.org/topics-tools/employment-law-compliance/trump-approves-paid-parental-leave-federal-workers ↩︎
  6. “Map of Paid Parental & Family Caregiving Leave Policies for State Employees,” A Better Balance, March 15, 2024
    https://www.abetterbalance.org/resources/map-of-paid-parental-family-caregiving-leave-policies-for-state-employees/ ↩︎
  7. Louisiana State Civil Service Rule 11.36 https://www.civilservice.louisiana.gov/Parental-Leave/Default.aspx ↩︎
  8. State of Louisiana Executive Department, Executive Order Number JBE 2023-18, Rules and Policies on Leave for Unclassified Service – Amended November 1, 2023 https://www.doa.la.gov/media/rygdnvd2/jbe-2023-18-rules-and-policies-on-leave-for-unclassified-service.pdf ↩︎
  9. Teacher Recruitment, Recovery, and Retention Task Force 2022 Final Report https://www.laregents.edu/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/2022-TRRR-Task-Force-Final-Report.pdf ↩︎
  10. 2021-2022 Educator Workforce Snapshot, Louisiana Believes, 2023, https://www.louisianabelieves.com/docs/default-source/teaching/2021-2022-stateeducator-workforce-snapshot.pdf?sfvrsn=40396318_6. ↩︎
  11. “Teacher Qualifications and Pay Impact on Teacher Retention and Student Performance: Louisiana Public School Teachers,” Louisiana Legislative Auditor, May 25, 2022 
  12.  U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Teacher Follow-up Survey (TFS), “Former Teacher Data File,” 2012–13. https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/sass/tables/tfs1213_190507_f1n.asp ↩︎
  13.  Jones, Kelly; Wilcher, Britni (2019). 2019-07 Reducing maternal labor market detachment. American University. Online resource. https://doi.org/10.17606/emgb-at97 https://aura.american.edu/articles/online_resource/2019-07_Reducing_maternal_labor_market_detachment/23894085 
  14. Ibid ↩︎
  15.  Heymann J, Raub A, Earle A. Creating and using new data sources to analyze the relationship between social policy and global health: the case of maternal leave. Public Health Rep. 2011 Sep-Oct;126 Suppl 3(Suppl 3):127-34. doi: 10.1177/00333549111260S317. PMID: 21836745; PMCID: PMC3150137.
  16. “ Paid Family Leave: A Crucial Support for Breastfeeding” Center for Law and Social Policy, https://www.clasp.org/sites/default/files/public/resources-and-publications/files/Breastfeeding-Paid-Leave.pdf 
  17.  Chatterji P, Markowitz S. Family leave after childbirth and the mental health of new mothers. J Ment Health Policy Econ. 2012 Jun;15(2):61-76. PMID: 22813939.
  18.  The Health Case for Paid Family and Medical Leave, A Better Balance, November 30, 2021, https://www.abetterbalance.org/resources/the-health-case-for paid-family-and-medical-leave/. 
  19.  When Dad Can Stay Home: Fathers’ Workplace Flexibility And Maternal Health, National Bureau of Economic Research, October 2019,  https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w25902/w25902.pdf.  
  20.  Adoption Friendly Benefits in the Workplace: It is the Right Thing to Do, National Council For Adoption, July 1, 2018, https://adoptioncouncil.org/publications/adoption-advocate-no-121/.