Workforce

North Carolina allows state employees paid time off to assist in school cafeterias

A new policy aims to combat labor shortages at K-12 schools.
school cafeteria
Photo: Shutterstock

As operations across the country contend with a tight labor market compounded by more staff needing to quarantine as a result of COVID-19 exposure or illness, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday announced a new policy in his state that seeks to ameliorate some of these challenges as they pertain to K-12 schools.

If approved by their manager, state employees will now be able to use paid volunteer days to serve as cafeteria workers, bus drivers, substitute teachers and other support staff in public schools.

The paid leave will cover time needed to train for these roles, according a press release, and state employees may keep compensation received for their work at schools.

“It is critical that we keep children learning in the classroom safely,” Gov. Cooper said in the release. “This policy will encourage state employees to lend a helping hand to our students at a time of severe staffing challenges for our public schools.”

Before this policy, which remains in place until Feb. 15., the state’s full-time employees were able to use 24 hours of paid leave per calendar year to take part in community service.

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