BATON ROUGE, LA – The Louisiana Paid Family Medical Leave Coalition is proud to celebrate a groundbreaking win for state employees – a new benefit that grants six weeks of fully paid parental leave.

Through a pair of actions, state employees will now be entitled to six weeks of parental leave at 100% pay for birth, adoption and foster care to promote bonding with a new child. A Louisiana State Civil Service Rule covers classified employees and an executive order issued by Gov. John Bel Edwards covers unclassified employees and appointees. Approximately 70,000 state employees will be covered under the combined actions effective January 1, 2024.

These landmark decisions are a testament to our state’s commitment to supporting working parents and promoting health equity. We proudly join a growing list of states, including Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas, that have already adopted similar paid parental leave policies, setting the national standard for state employee benefits.

Paid parental leave is a step toward enhancing health equity. It provides substantial benefits to vulnerable populations who often face socio-economic and health disparities. State employees can now better balance their family responsibilities and work without risking financial instability.

“We are delighted to see Louisiana making strides toward equitable health practices,” said LPHI’s CEO, Shelina Davis. “Paid parental leave is more than a benefit; it is a profound commitment to family health. This policy allows parents to bond with their newborns or newly adopted children without the stress of financial loss – a crucial factor in the holistic well-being of families.”

This victory not only benefits families’ health, it also has significant economic implications. “Paid parental leave reduces turnover costs, increases workforce productivity and promotes economic stability for families,” said Stacey Roussel, Deputy Executive Director with the Louisiana Budget Project. “It’s an investment that yields substantial returns for both the individual and the state.”

“Paid parental leave boosts employee retention and morale, enhances the financial security of families, and promotes better health outcomes for both parents and children,” said Carmen McCoy, a Louisiana-based Legal Fellow with A Better Balance. “Providing paid parental leave for state employees brings Louisiana in line with peer states across the South that have enacted similar policies.”

Today’s win signifies a substantial step forward, but the journey continues. As we celebrate this victory, the Louisiana Paid Family Medical Leave Coalition remains committed to advancing health equity for all Louisianans. Our vision is for all citizens of Louisiana to have access to benefits and workplace protections that lay a strong foundation for a healthier, more equitable state. 

Louisiana Paid Family and Medical Leave Coalition

10,000 Women
A Better Balance
AARP Louisiana
Agenda for Children
Birthmark Doulas
Clover (formerly Kingsley House)
Geaux Far Louisiana
Institute of Women & Ethnic Studies
League of Women Voters of Louisiana
Lift Louisiana
Louisiana Budget Project
Louisiana Partnership for Children and Families
Louisiana Progress
Louisiana Public Health Institute
March of Dimes
Mary Amelia Center for Women’s Health Equity Research at Tulane
New Orleans Campaign for Grade Level Reading
New Orleans Health  Department
New Orleans Maternal Child Health Coalition
Power Coalition for Equity and Justice
Reproductive Health Impact
ResourceFull Consulting, LLC
Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response (STAR)
The Amandla Group
The Independent Women’s Organization of Greater New Orleans (IWO)
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
United Way of Southeast Louisiana
Workplace Justice Project at Loyola Law Clinic
Lede New Orleans