I'm happy to share that last night Buncombe County Commission unanimously passed a parental and family leave policy for Buncombe County employees. It grants 8 weeks of paid parental leave and 6 weeks of paid family leave, making it one of the strongest policies in the state. We also requested an analysis after the first year of implementation to better understand its impact. My hope and goal is that we can build on this foundation and offer expanded leave in the future.
Parental leave and family leave are proven policies to support employees - it's the difference between rushing back to work the week after a child is born and having time to bond; it's the difference between trying to hold it together at work while a loved one is in the ICU and being by their bedside. Policies like this also help recruit and retain a strong, diverse workforce - people not only want but increasingly expect this to be part an organization's policies and culture.
The county employs more than 1,500 people, an incredible and diverse team of individuals, and this new benefit will help better address their needs as well as help continue recruiting talented staff. As one of the largest employers in our area, the county also helps set the standard for policies like this - hopefully more local employers can introduce benefits like this. This is an issue I campaigned on in 2016 and I'm very glad we were able to deliver it to our community last night.
I’m so honored to have been re-elected to serve on Buncombe County Commission in District 2 and want to thank my family, campaign team, and everyone who has supported my campaign. We have such important work to do, from responding to the COVID-19 pandemic to critical work around early childhood education, affordable housing, and responding to the opioid epidemic.
I look forward to continuing to serve all the people of Buncombe County – those who voted for me and those who did not. Above all, it’s important for us to come together as a community and to double down on empathy and hope as we move forward.