LOUISIANA, (KTAL/KMSS) – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards announced that state employees are eligible for paid parental leave.

The governor announced the change on Thursday with the members of Louisiana State Civil Service, Woman’s Hospital, and elected officials.

The order in conjunction with the new Civil Service rule will provide classified and unclassified state employees with 100% paid parental leave.

“I’m thrilled to announce the adoption of paid parental leave for the nearly 70,000 state employees in Louisiana,” said Gov. Edwards. “Paid parental leave means better outcomes for every family member, allowing parents to bond with their child without the financial stress of sacrificing their income, savings or paid sick days. By joining the 32 other states with paid parental leave policies, we are positioning ourselves to both attract and retain top talent in state. I believe this policy is pro-life, and I hope to see the legislature adopt it statewide in the near future. I’d like to thank State Civil Service, Representative Sam Jenkins, and Jackson Wright in my office for their hard work that made this possible.”

Any state employees who are legal, adoptive, or foster parents are entitled to the benefit which allows six weeks of pay within 12 weeks of birth or placement for adoption or foster care.

“This is a great day for Louisiana and the tens of thousands of state employees who will be covered by this policy,” said Rep. Sam Jenkins. “The policy being implemented today will provide a very important benefit to state employees, and I appreciate the state taking the lead. With it, we are sending a signal to young families that we want to attract and retain them in Louisiana.”

The measure is an effort to promote bonding with a new child, according to the governor’s news release.

“We know that paid parental leave is a good thing for our state government and that it’s going to be even better for the recruitment and retention of employees,” said State Civil Service Director Byron Decoteau. “This policy allows parents to focus on bonding with their child, strengthening and building their family unit without the financial worries that often come with unpaid leave.“

Employees are eligible after working for the state for at least one year, which mirrors eligibility for FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) for unpaid leave. The benefit is effective January 1, 2024.