RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper says his directive that state agencies provide paid leave for workers following a birth means parents will no longer have to choose between their career or their child.

Cooper signed an executive order on Thursday that offers paid parental leave to state employees in his Cabinet-level departments starting Sept. 1. That’s eight weeks of full paid leave to those who give birth and four weeks to their spouses or partners.

Such paid leave is already offered by many private-sector companies. At an Executive Mansion event, Cooper said such leave has been found to increase worker productivity and improve recruitment and retention.

Cooper says carrying out the order will cost $3.5 million annually, with his agencies absorbing the expenses from current funds.

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Feature photo courtesy of Gov. Roy Cooper’s Facebook page.

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