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.