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Feb 16, 7:31 PM EST

Arkansas governor OKs maternity leave for state employees


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law legislation giving state employees four weeks of paid maternity leave that will be taken out of an existing pool of unused sick leave.

Hutchinson on Thursday signed the measure to use time from the state's Catastrophic Sick Leave Bank for the birth or adoption of a child. The law does not require employees to exhaust sick or annual leave prior to being awarded catastrophic leave for maternity purposes.

The leave would be available to women within the first 12 weeks after birth or adoption, and the measure does not offer paternity leave.

Hutchinson's office said the program won't cost the state additional money since the donated hours are already accounted for as an unfunded liability in the state's budget.

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