Location: Raleigh • Year Founded: 2013 • Number of Employees: 4
Every day, the staff of the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation (NCECF) works to fulfill the Raleigh-based nonprofit’s mission to build a foundation of opportunity and success for every child by the end of third grade.
But despite NCECF’s focus on early childhood initiatives, the organization did not have a policy for paid parental leave until spring of this year. As a small nonprofit with a staff of four employees—all of whom have older children—NCECF had not had a pregnant employee on the team since the organization was founded in 2013.
Then Sumera Syed, who joined the staff part time in 2016 as NCECF’s organizational manager, announced her first pregnancy, and Executive Director Tracy Zimmerman realized it was time to create a parental leave policy.
“Like many small businesses, we hadn’t addressed the policy because we hadn’t needed to,” Zimmerman says. “However, once we had an immediate need, we wanted to create a policy that would not only help us keep Sumera, but would reflect research about policies that make a positive impact on child and family health and would help us attract and retain talent in the future as we grow.”
Now, NCECF offers 12 weeks of fully paid leave to mothers and fathers following the birth or adoption of a child. What’s more, leave is available to full- and part-time employees who work at least 20 hours a week.
Because NCECF did not have a policy in place when Syed was first pregnant, she was nervous about whether she’d be able to continue to work for the organization after her baby was born.
“At the time, I was scared about the decision I would have to make between my career and my child,” Syed says.
But Syed, who returned from her leave in June, says she is proud of NCECF for creating a policy that is comprehensive and inclusive of full-time and part-time employees.
“As a part-time employee, I am still 100 percent committed to the organization and want to grow and have lasting career plans,” she says.
Sample benefits at North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation
- Employer paid medical insurance
- Paid time off and paid holidays
- 12 weeks of paid parental leave
- 401K retirement plan
- Life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance