News, Policy Updates

Press Release: Governor McMaster, Advocates, Legislators agree—paid family leave is good for South Carolina

by WREN Staff on Dec 16, 2020

COLUMBIA, SC – Today, Representative Beth Bernstein will prefile a bill to provide 12 weeks of paid parental leave to state employees. Bernstein’s bill will join Senator Darrell Jackson’s S.11 in explicitly providing paid family leave for state employees for the birth or adoption of a child. WREN applauds Senator Jackson and Representative Bernstein for putting South Carolina families first.

The legislators joined Governor McMaster and advocates in March of this year to express their support for South Carolina families. In an earlier statement, Governor McMaster emphasized the importance of South Carolina’s continued economic growth. Paid family leave is an essential component to general public health and economic recovery from COVID-19. These measures prevent the spread of illness and ensure that caregivers retain their jobs during an absence.

In a 2020 poll of likely voters, WREN found that 90% of South Carolinians support paid family leave. This bipartisan majority of voters indicated that policies related to the economic well-being of families should be a legislative priority.

“This issue is one that most employers and everyday people can agree with. Across partisan lines, we see that most South Carolinians want to live in a state that protects workers and families,” said Ann Warner, CEO of the Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network. “Our state legislature has an opportunity to lead the nation and protect what we value most—South Carolina families.”

Paid family leave is good for business. Studies have shown that paid family leave benefits increase morale, loyalty, and productivity. To date, only 19% of workers nationwide have access to paid leave from their employers.

“Without paid leave, we are forcing parents to make an impossible choice,” said Warner. “No one should have to choose between caregiving, or providing financially for their family,”


The Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network (WREN) is a South Carolina nonprofit, non-partisan network that is building a movement to advance the health, economic well-being, and rights of South Carolina’s women, girls, and their families. WREN provides a strong collective voice for South Carolina’s women, girls, and gender expansive people. Learn more at

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