As students across the state prepare to go back to school soon, their home state isn’t on the honor roll in a state-by-state analysis of workplace policies with regard to family support.
The National Partnership for Women and Families gave North Carolina a D grade because the state has not expanded on federal rights or protections for new and expecting parents.
Ana Pardo, campaign and outreach coordinator for the North Carolina Justice Center’s Workers’ Rights Project, says state lawmakers’ lack of action is impacting Tar Heel parents every day.
“In North Carolina, we just haven’t been able to convince decision makers that these are worthwhile things,” she states. “Meanwhile, not to have this leave is really harming families, particularly families with single parents.”
North Carolina did receive recognition for its family and pregnancy leave for state workers, which extend benefits beyond the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.
In addition to this state, 25 others have also done little or nothing to encourage paid family and medical leave and paid sick days. California is the only state that earned an A.
Sarah Fleisch Fink, director of workplace policy and senior counsel with the National Partnership for Women and Families, says supportive policies can go a long way in predicting future success in the lives of children.
“We know that new children coming into the world thrive when parents can take time off after the birth or adoption of that child to bond and to provide the important care that kids need,” she stresses. “For women to get important prenatal and postnatal care that they need. For fathers to be able to bond and spend time with new children.”
Pardo says improving access to paid leave for all North Carolina workers will benefit the entire state.
“This is not only making our state’s people less healthy, but also our economy,” she points out. “We’re less competitive as a state when employers are looking at where to locate a new facility and they look at North Carolina and they see that we haven’t leveled the playing field. ”
Most all of North Carolina’s border states also received a D grade, with the exception of South Carolina and Georgia. They both got an F.