COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – Governor Henry McMaster signed paid parental leave for school district employees into law on Wednesday.

The governor was joined by State Superintendent of Education Ellen Weaver, teachers, and members of the General Assembly to sign the bill.

The bill requires school districts to provide up to six weeks of maternity leave and two weeks of paternal leave for employees due to the birth, adoption, or fostering of a child.

This bill comes after Governor McMaster signed an act into law in 2022 that gave state employees up to six weeks of paid parental leave for the birth, adoption, or foster of a child.

Governor McMaster said the new bill is an important step towards improving the quality of classroom teachers.

“When it comes to a student’s academic achievement, we know that quality classroom teachers matter more than any other aspect of schooling,” Governor McMaster said. “This policy, coupled with a 41% increase in minimum starting teacher pay since 2018, will help us continue to improve our ability to recruit and retain the best teachers.”

Weaver commented on how the bill will also help support teachers.

“With this legislation,” Weaver said, “not only do we enable teachers to grow their own families while they grow their students, but we retain them while they are doing that.”