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NEWS: Boys and Girls Homes becomes one of few NC nonprofits offering paid parental leave

   The Board of Trustees of Boys and Girls Homes of North Carolina recently voted unanimously to support a policy of paid parental leave for employees who qualify for FMLA leave, making BGHNC one of the few nonprofits in the state to offer such a benefit. BGHNC President Marc Murphy, LCSW, announced the policy to employees on February 23.

    Murphy said the idea for offering paid parental leave at BGHNC came from an employee’s anonymous suggestion on the organization’s annual employee survey.

    “I am grateful an employee took this opportunity to express their concern that BGHNC did not offer paid parental leave, because that got me and the Executive Team thinking,” he said. “As we looked deeper, we found ample research that paid parental leave strengthens family attachment and increases the mental health and well-being of parents and children. That means that paid parental leave is exactly in line with the mission of BGHNC.”

    This leave runs concurrently with and not in addition to other forms of paid leave. The new policy offers three categories of paid parental leave including:

·       Up to eight (8) weeks of paid leave for a person who gives birth to a child.

·       Up to four (4) weeks of paid leave for a spouse or domestic partner of the person giving birth to a child.

·       Up to four (4) weeks of paid leave for a person adopting a child or having a child placed with them in foster care.

    Research from the American Psychological Association lists the benefits of paid parental leave as decreased risk of rehospitalization after delivery, increased mental health for parents as well as decreased stress during pregnancy.

    “I am excited that we're able to offer this benefit as it demonstrates our support for work-life balance,” said Amanda Formyduval, BGHNC’s HR Director. “Enabling our employees to care for and bond with a newborn or a newly adopted child without having the financial worry of getting paid while on leave represents the core of what BGHNC stands for as it relates to providing a continuum of care to meet the needs of children, youth and families in a vulnerable state.”

    BGHNC joins a gradually upward national trend of companies and nonprofits offering paid parental leave, partially bolstered by the 2020 Federal Employee Paid Leave Act offering up to 12 weeks of paid leave for some categories of federal civilian employees.

    In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics research said that only between 7 percent and 40 percent of U.S. civilian workers had access to paid parental leave depending on their wage category. For example, only 7 percent of the lowest wage earners had access to paid parental leave. In North Carolina, state workers in Cabinet agencies and some non-Cabinet agencies have had paid parental leave since 2019. In 2022, not only did the nonprofit NC Early Childhood Foundation expand its paid parental leave to 12 weeks, it also launched its Family Forward NC Employer Certification program for businesses based on a business’ family-friendly benefits, which include paid parental leave. Family Forward NC lists 48 organizations in the state that are either already certified or seeking certification, 24 of which are nonprofits.

    Organizations offering paid parental leave is ultimately beneficial for Columbus County’s workers, said Joan McPherson, President of the Columbus County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism.

    “Columbus County's leaders are dedicated to continuous workforce development, and BGHNC recognizes the importance of increasing employee productivity and morale to reduce turnover costs,” she said in a statement. “Paid family leave policies strengthen businesses and organizations by demonstrating to employees that their employers care and support them during difficult times. In short, paid family leave can encourage employee retention, enhance productivity, and create an equitable culture where people can do their best work.”

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