To: UNC System Employees
Subject: Paid Parental Leave Benefit
Date: August 23, 2019
On May 23, 2019, Governor Cooper signed Executive Order No. 95 providing paid parental leave to eligible state employees. This executive order only applies to North Carolina departments and agencies for which the Governor has direct oversight responsibility, which does not include the University of North Carolina System and its constituent institutions.
The Governor’s paid parental leave provides eight weeks of fully paid parental leave to eligible state employees who have given birth to a child, and four weeks of paid parental leave for non-birth parents in other circumstances involving the birth of a child, or the adoption, foster placement, or other legal placement of a child with an eligible state employee.
Recent media reports have indicated that the University of North Carolina System is “undecided” about implementing a paid parental leave program. It is important that we clarify the University’s position on this matter given the recent media coverage.
We intend to present a proposal to the UNC Board of Governors (“BOG”) at the September meeting to approve a paid parental leave benefit for University employees that is largely equivalent to the provisions of the Governor’s executive order. The University’s governance structure requires that the BOG approve any new employee leave policy for EHRA employees, such as paid parental leave. Once approved, it is our intention to implement any new parental leave benefit, simultaneously, for both SHRA and EHRA employees.
While we cannot offer a definitive timeline, subject to the BOG’s approval, we will work through implementation details as quickly as possible. However, given the size of the University’s workforce and the need to update human resources policies and timekeeping systems at 17 distinct constituent institutions, this will require some time to implement.
We also wanted to note that, before the Governor’s Executive Order, the UNC System Office was actively supporting a collaborative effort between the UNC System Staff Assembly and the NC State University Council on the Status of Women to develop a proposal for a paid parental leave program for all constituent institutions of the University. The Council had already completed a significant amount of work to benchmark and develop a proposal for this benefit. As well, we were very pleased to see the Governor’s executive order.
We appreciate the importance attached to this benefit for many employees and the interest in understanding when and if such a benefit will be extended to University employees. As additional information becomes available, expect communication from your institution’s Human Resources office. In the meantime, please contact your respective Human Resources office if you have any questions.
William L. Roper
Interim President, UNC System