Saturday, April 13, 2024

Gov.-elect Landry wants more budget information about paid parental leave for state workers

by BIZ Magazine

By Julie O’Donoghue, Louisiana Illuminator

Gov.-elect Jeff Landry wants more information about the price tag attached to offering state workers paid parental leave before he agrees to go along with the policy.

“I haven’t seen the budget impact of that yet, which I thought was interesting,” Landry said Wednesday at a press conference on the University of Louisiana Lafayette campus.

“We can be aspirational as governors, but the legislature are the ones that have to find the money and pay for it,” he said. 

Landry said he asked legislative leaders to investigate the cost of the new paid parental rules. 

On his way out of office, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed paperwork last week approving the new leave policy for nearly 70,000 state employees. It would kick in Jan. 1, a week before Landry’s inauguration. 

Edwards said he did not talk to Landry about the new parental leave rules before putting them in place.

Under the new policy, state employees would get access to six weeks of paid time-off after a birth, adoption or foster placement as long as they have worked for the government for at least a year. The leave also needs to be taken within the first three months of becoming a new parent. It applies to all genders. 

The new benefit is supposed to be available to most state workers, except for those who work for the state court systems and the Louisiana Legislature. Unclassified workers in the higher education systems, like faculty, could also be left out, though many higher education leaders are making moves to adopt the same provision independently. 

Landry could easily undo one portion of the new leave rule if he wanted. Edwards put the leave policy in place for unclassified state workers, typically those who hold appointed positions, through a gubernatorial executive order. Landry can repeal it once he takes office.

It would be harder for Landry to pull the paid leave from the other states employees who will receive it — classified workers. The state Civil Service Commission would have to vote to repeal the benefit they just approved in September.

Members of the State Civil Service Commission are appointed by Louisiana’s private universities and colleges, not the governor.

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