VACATION

McMaster and sponsors celebrate law giving state employees up to 6 weeks paid parental leave | Palmetto Politics

COLUMBIA — Gov. Henry McMaster celebrated a new law providing state employees up to six weeks of paid parental leave while its sponsors promised to push for more next year.  

“This is a great step forward,” McMaster said Aug. 25 at the Statehouse, surrounded by advocates who helped get the legislation to his desk.

“Having strong families, of course, is key to our success in the future,” he added. “Mommas and daddies need to be with their babies as much as they can.” 

The event marked a ceremonial signing of a bill he actually set into law in May. 

Effective Oct. 1, it provides six weeks of paid leave to state employees who give birth or become parents by adopting a child under 18. The spouse who doesn’t give birth or — in the case of adoption, the parent who’s not the primary care provider — can take two weeks off with pay. Parents who foster a child in state custody can also take two weeks paid leave. 


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Parents can still take up to 12 weeks off, as allowed under a 1993 federal law, but the rest of the time would be unpaid. Currently, employees must use up their accrued vacation and sick days before taking unpaid leave. The new law doesn’t require using those days.

As initially passed overwhelmingly by the S.C. House of Representatives last year, the legislation guaranteed 12 weeks of paid leave to each parent. But the Senate cut the maximum weeks in half and differentiated between mother and father, biological and foster children.

Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Columbia, said the compromise was necessary to get a vote in the Senate, which passed the amended bill unanimously in March. For reluctant senators, he said, it was a matter of money.   


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