NC’s State Parental Leave Policy Now Includes Public School Employees

A recent state law has implemented paid parental leave for all North Carolina state employees, now including those working within K-12 public schools.

Eligibility Criteria

The updated policy extends paid parental leave benefits to a wide range of employees, encompassing both full-time and part-time workers employed by the state of North Carolina. To qualify, employees must meet specific eligibility requirements:

  1. FMLA Eligibility: Eligible employees should have worked a minimum of 1,040 hours within the past 12 months, meeting the criteria established by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
  2. Continuous Employment: Employees must have maintained continuous employment without a break in service within the past 12 months.
  3. Length of Employment: Employees are eligible if they have been employed for 12 consecutive months within the same school system or state agency. If an employee changes districts, they would need to reestablish eligibility.
  4. Workers’ Compensation: Being on workers’ compensation is not considered a break in service for the purpose of this policy.
  5. Sick Leave: Employees are not required to exhaust their sick leave before accessing paid parental leave.
  6. Benefit Usage: Paid parental leave benefits must be utilized within the first 12 months following the qualifying event (birth or adoption), and an employee can only use this benefit once in a 12-month period.
  7. Notice Period: A 10-week notice is requested before using paid parental leave. Exceptions can be made in cases where public safety concerns exist.
  8. Charter Schools: Charter schools have the option to decide whether they want to offer paid parental leave to their employees.
  9. Funding: This program has been approved for two years, with an allocation of $10 million annually.
  10. Employment Termination: Employers are not obligated to pay out leave if an employee’s employment is terminated during their leave period.

Leave Duration

The duration of paid parental leave varies based on employment status:

Full-Time Employees:

  • Birthing Parent: 8 weeks
  • Non-Birthing Parent: 4 weeks
  • Adoptive/Foster/Legal Guardianship Placement: 4 weeks

Part-Time Employees:

  • Birthing Mother: 4 weeks
  • Non-Birthing Parent: 2 weeks
  • Adoptive/Foster/Legal Guardianship Placement: 2 weeks

How can I find additional information?

You can access the existing policy regarding paid parental leave for state employees here.

Partnering with Pierce Group Benefits

Pierce Group Benefits offers two benefits that effectively supplement paid parental leave: short-term disability benefits and Medical Bridge benefits. These benefits provide additional coverage to enhance a North Carolina state employee’s paid parental leave benefit.

Short-term disability benefits are designed to offer financial protection by safeguarding the insured’s income during a covered accident or sickness. Medical Bridge benefits help cover out-of-pocket expenses associated with hospital stays, outpatient surgery, inpatient services, emergency room visits, diagnostic tests, and doctor’s office visits. These benefits play a vital role in supporting employees on parental leave by easing the financial burden of medical expenses that may arise during this period. These benefits can be especially valuable for public school employees who have changed school districts and will need to restart their eligibility for the state’s paid parental leave.

To learn more about these benefits and how they can enhance your organization’s culture of wellness while effectively supplementing state paid parental leave, please reach out to your Pierce Group Benefits Account Manager or contact a PGB Representative at