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K-12 paid parental leave bill tabled over cost questions

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K-12 paid parental leave bill tabled over cost questions

May 20, 2024 | 4:09 pm ET
By Allison Allsop
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Paid parental leave bill tabled amid questions about cost uncertainty
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Sen. Samuel Jenkins pulled his bill to create paid parental leave for Louisiana K-12 school employees. (Louisiana Illuminator)

A bill that aimed to create paid parental leave for Louisiana’s K-12 school employees has been pulled by its sponsor because he said some still have questions and concerns about its cost. 

Sen. Sam Jenkins, D-Shreveport, agreed to table Senate Bill 426 when it was brought up Monday in the Senate Committee on Finance. He had added amendments to the measure in the Senate Committee on Education last month intended to decrease its cost. But because the Legislative Fiscal Office can only provide estimates on the financial impacts of legislation, lawmakers were weary of the final cost of the legislation.

The Louisiana Department of Education hasn’t historically tracked how much leave public school employees take for the birth or adoption of a child, leaving Jenkins without data to make a solid calculation on how much his proposal might cost the state.

The original version of the legislation carried an estimated $15.3 million cost to the state. Jenkins’ amendments spelled out that the state would only be responsible for repaying school systems for the cost of substitute teachers instead of employees’ parental leave, reducing the impact by $10 million. 

Jenkins was the first to suggest deferring his bill Monday. He said he understood some legislators wanted more information and that he planned to sponsor a resolution to study how many teachers take leave for the birth of a child, adoption or pregnancy loss. 

Jenkins asked the committee to support his resolution since they were the ones wanting more information. He has just two weeks to write and gain approval for his resolution before the legislative session ends June 3.