North Carolina gives lawyers who are new parents a break from court appearances

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Lawyers  in North Carolina have been given the option to not appear in court after the birth or adoption of a child.

Cheri Beasley, chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, announced that lawyers practising in the state are now allowed to choose to take up to 12 weeks in parental leave in the 24 weeks immediately after the birth or adoption of a child.

The policy was introduced after the state’s General Rules of Practice and the Rules of Appellate Procedure were amended. The changes also give lawyers three weeks of secured leave in a calendar year for any purpose.

“A ‘secure-leave period’ is one complete calendar week that is designated by an attorney during which the trial courts and the appellate courts will not hold a proceeding in any of the attorney’s cases,” the state said.

The new leave policies were implemented just weeks after the state’s judicial branch introduced a new policy giving employees of the court system up to eight weeks of paid parental leave.

“Strengthening families and supporting children is such an important part of the work of our courts,” Beasley said. “It is with great pleasure and in that spirit that we are taking steps to ensure that new parents who work in our courts are able to take time to bond with their new children.”