Saturday, April 20, 2024

Louisiana community college employees to receive paid family leave 

by BIZ Magazine
family mom sits on the couch with children looking at anipad

BY: PIPER HUTCHINSON | Louisiana Illuminator

Louisiana state government can’t estimate what the budget impact of Gov. John Bel Edwards new paid parental leave policy will be, according to Jay Dardenne, Edwards’ budget chief. (Getty Images)
The Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors adopted a paid family leave policy Wednesday for all of its employees. (Getty Images)

The Louisiana Community and Technical College System Board of Supervisors adopted a paid family leave policy Wednesday for all of its employees.

The policy will allow up to six weeks of leave for any employee after becoming a parent, including for foster and adoptive families. The new standards mirror those the state Civil Service Commission adopted for classified employees last year. Then-Gov. John Bel Edwards extended the same benefits to most unclassified state workers through an executive order.

His edict did not apply to unclassified employees who fall outside the governor’s authority, including those who work for the state’s four higher education systems.

LCTCS President Monty Sullivan touted the measure as important for recruiting and retaining employees to the 12 schools in his system.

“It is part of doing business. It is part of being competitive,” Sullivan said at a Wednesday meeting in Baton Rouge.

The system identified 42 employees, out of its total of 3,000, who would have taken the leave in 2023 if it were available, meaning the budgetary impact of the benefit would have been minimal.

Paid family leave could soon become the norm at Louisiana colleges and universities.

The University of Louisiana System, a network of nine campuses across the state, adopted the same policy in December. The Southern University System is currently studying the feasibility of adopting the benefit.

The LSU System promised employees it would adopt paid family leave beginning Jan. 1, but it has since reneged on that timeline for unclassified faculty and staff. The system has not indicated when the policy will be approved all employees, but a human resources representative said President William Tate’s leadership council is still reviewing the new standards.

Gov. Jeff Landry, a Republican, has made “no changes” to the paid family leave policy Edwards adopted, although the benefit for unclassified workers will automatically expire in August unless Landry renews it. The perk for classified workers rule would be more difficult to undo, requiring the Civil Service Commission to reverse its approval.

Sullivan said in an interview with the Illuminator the LCTCS policy is unrelated to the state’s. While he would not definitively say whether the system would retain the policy if the state reversed course, he said his main priority was LCTCS employees.

“We didn’t do this because the state of Louisiana did. We did this because it was a great recruitment tool,” Sullivan said. “What happens for the state of Louisiana and civil service is not up to us.”

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