Statement from Palmetto State Teachers Association on passage of parental leave benefits bill

May 10, 2023

Palmetto State Teachers Association applauds today’s unanimous vote in the South Carolina House to concur with Senate amendments to H. 3908, a bill that will make educators in South Carolina eligible for the same paid parental leave benefits created for state employees in 2022. While the bill still needs to be signed into law by the Governor, this piece of legislation has now received a unanimous vote of support at every step of the legislative process. This truly remarkable outcome demonstrates a strong commitment by the members of the General Assembly to support educators and their families.

This commitment is critically important in light of our state’s persistent and growing educator shortages. Given the scope of these shortages, the passage of H. 3908 should rightly be viewed as an important policy action, but it also cannot be allowed to stand as the only policy action to enhance educator recruitment and retention efforts in our state. More work remains for state and local leaders to ensure that every classroom in this state is staffed by the highly qualified educator that the students of South Carolina need and deserve, which is why PSTA looks forward to the coming release of the report from the Teacher Recruitment, Retention, and Advancement Task Force created in the current state budget under the leadership of House Speaker Murrell Smith.

But today, PSTA celebrates the passage of this important piece of legislation. PSTA appreciates the efforts of so many legislators that made the passage of this bill a priority during this legislative session, particularly Rep. Neal Collins, the primary author of H. 3908, and Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, who introduced similar legislation earlier this year in the Senate. PSTA looks forward to this bill being signed by Governor McMaster in order to give educators in South Carolina an increased opportunity to care for their own children while continuing to dedicate their time and talents to the service of the children of our state.