FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — Florence 1 Schools said it is the first district in South Carolina to offer paid parental leave for its teachers.

The plan was approved unanimously at July’s board of Trustees meeting, according to a news release. The district said 75% of its employees are female and 40% of them are of child-bearing age.

A full-time employee who gives birth will have six weeks of paid parental leave after the child is born, at 100% pay, according to the district. Someone who doesn’t give birth but is a co-parent will be allowed two weeks at full pay. If both parents are eligible, it may be taken at the same time or at separate times.

Employees would not have to exhaust all other paid leave before being entitled to the paid parental leave, the district said.

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“I don’t find this to be very progressive in 2022,” Superintendent Richard O’Malley said in a statement. “I think that this is something that we needed to do. The governor signed a bill to provide paid maternity leave to state employees for six weeks and then two weeks for paid paternal leave and they, somehow, excluded teachers from being a state employee. I don’t think that sends the right message for what we’re trying to do in our state. In Florence 1 Schools, we value families.”

Board member Trisha Caulder, who is also a retired Florence 1 Schools educator, said the parental leave has been needed for a long time.

“I am so very proud of our board and administrative staff for recognizing the positive impact this would have on the lives of our employees and stepping forward to make it a reality,” Caulder said in a statement. “This is just one more major milestone in Florence One’s journey to excellence.”

Taylor Miller, a teacher at Wilson High School, said in a statement that the policy makes her feel valued as an employee.