Virginia is Better for Working Families thanks to Governor Northam’s Signature

Paid Parental Leave EO a Win for Public Servants, Families Around the Commonwealth

On June 26th, Governor Ralph Northam announced he signed two important executive orders: one is designed to ensure certain state employees who are welcoming children into their homes have access to paid time off, and the other creates a new commission to study childcare and early education options for state employees who have young children. The paid family leave policy will give new parents working in the executive branch up to 8 weeks of time to bond with a newborn and will also provide the same amount of time to parents with children under 8 once they are placed for adoption, foster or custodial care.

In response to Governor Northam‘s policy announcement this morning, Anna Scholl, Progress Virginia’s Executive Director, said, ” Thanks to Governor Northam‘s progressive and forward-thinking action, state leave policies now reflect 21st century dynamics and will help us attract and retain a skilled, competitive workforce in the Executive Branch for years to come.”

“Taken together,” continued Scholl, “Governor Northam’s Executive Orders will do more to make Virginia a family-friend place and hopefully inspire our elected officials in Richmond to extend the same benefits to all working families, not just public servants in the Executive Branch. Anyone who works hard should be able to raise and care for a family with dignity.”

If the policy was extended to all working people in the Commonwealth it would mean that the 2,112,767 women in Virginia’s labor force could be able to take paid time off to take care of themselves and their families. Virginia has a nearly 13 percentage point gap between women and men’s participation in the workforce because women typically leave the workforce to take care of their families due to lack of paid family leave. This gap has meant lower productivity and GDP for the Commonwealth. Because paid leave is one intervention shown to help boost women’s participation in the labor force, a statewide policy for all employees would be a boost for Virginia’s economy.