Community college grants 8-week parental leave to employees

Published 5:45 pm Thursday, November 7, 2019

New parents at BCCC can now take paid leave to spend time with their newborn child or newly placed adopted or foster child. The new policy was inspired by the Governor’s Executive Order No. 95, which granted eight weeks of paid leave to many state employees, but did not cover the North Carolina Community College System. BCCC was the first community college in the system to adopt a policy of its own.

Executive Order No. 95 hoped to reverse a trend of declining participation by women in the labor pool in North Carolina, promote the physical and mental health of families, and to keep state agencies competitive with private employers at a time when recruiting and retaining employees has become increasing difficult.

As a rural community college, BCCC has to stay competitive with benefits it offers to its employees in order to attract highly qualified candidates to teach and support students. It has worked with the City of Washington to find ways to attract and retain younger professionals.

The new policy will afford eight weeks to new mothers who have given birth and four weeks to new parents through adoption, foster care or another legal placement. Employees must be designated as full-time or permanent part-time, and they need to have worked at the college for a continuous 12-month period to access the benefit. The paid leave will run concurrently with the Family Medical Leave Act, which covers unpaid leave.

“This Paid Parental Leave Policy was the right thing for us to do,” said Dr. Dave Loope, President of BCCC. “Our slogan is ‘You belong here’ and that means our employees with new families. We want to be an institution that invests in our employees and retains the best talent for our students.”