Cooper allows employees to use volunteer leave to work at schools

Jan 14, 2022

Gov. Roy Cooper announced this week that state employees can use their volunteer leave to work at public schools to fill vacancies created by the spread of COVID-19.

The new directive will allow state employees to use paid volunteer leave to serve as substitute staff in schools while also keeping any compensation they earn as substitutes.

The policy will be effective starting on January 12, 2022, and will end on February 15, 2022.

As SEANC Executive Director Ardis Watkins and Government Relations Director Suzanne Beasley pointed out in news stories on the announcement, though, many state employees won't be able to use leave time to help out at public schools because their departments are dealing with their own staffing problems.

“This isn’t the first time a North Carolina governor has called upon the state workforce to step up in a crisis,” Watkins told The N&O in a statement. “Unfortunately, staffing shortages at two of the largest departments [Department of Public Safety and Department of Health and Human Services] are so severe we are not sure how many employees will be able to take him up on his offer.”