Public school districts and open enrollment charter schools may elect to participate in a cost-sharing agreement with the Arkansas Department of Education, Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), to provide up to twelve (12) weeks of paid maternity leave for eligible education personnel.
“Education personnel” as an individual employed full-time by a public school district or open-enrollment public charter school in Arkansas for more than one (1) calendar year. Education personnel are considered employed full-time if the employee is in a position that requires an average of at least 30 hours per week of actual performance of duties during the school year. “Maternity leave” means partially or fully compensated time away from work within the first twelve (12) weeks following the birth of a biological child or placement of an adoptive child in the home (Ark. Code Ann. § 6-17-122).
The Arkansas Department of Education, through the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), has established a standard cost-sharing agreement for paid maternity leave expenses between DESE and a participating public school district or open-enrollment public charter school. The cost-sharing agreement will obligate DESE and the public school district to each pay fifty percent (50%) of incurred non-federal costs for up to twelve (12) weeks of approved paid maternity leave for an eligible employee.
Participation in a cost-sharing agreement is voluntary and the district or charter school determines the number of weeks, up to twelve (12), that an eligible employee may receive paid maternity leave and whether the employee will receive full or partial compensation during leave.
Districts wishing to add an additional policy to participate in the cost-sharing agreement will need to work with their PPC and local school board. Adding additional benefits will not invalidate the current contract, nor initiate the power of rescission within a 30-day period. Districts will need to submit the cost-sharing agreement to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 1, 2024. Approved cost sharing agreements will be retroactive to July 1, 2023.