On Nov. 17, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted to amend the personnel ordinance to expand leave for employees to cover parental and family care. With the amendment, Buncombe County Government employees will receive eight weeks of paid leave for parental care and six weeks for family care. In addition, the amended ordinance is expanded to include married couples who are both employed by the County. The previous personnel ordinance followed standard Family Medical Leave Act regulation that did not permit married couples to enjoy parental leave fully.
“I appreciate all the work that’s gone into this,” said Chairman Brownie Newman. “It’s an important benefit and fairly significant. We’ve all had family members who get diagnoses that are scary and are emergencies. We want our employees to be able to focus on caring for them during this time.”
The vote came after a public hearing with comments from three community members. Currently, nine states or districts have legislation in place for family care.
The new ordinance will provide up to six weeks coverage for employees who need to care for a spouse, child, or parent with a condition that requires inpatient care at a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity or any subsequent treatment in connection with such inpatient care or a condition that requires continuing care by a licensed health care provider. The ordinance also allows up to eight weeks for parents to bond with a newborn child within the first year or following the adoption or foster care placement of a child. Employees may use this time in a single continuous block or intermittently.