The average pregnancy lasts 40 weeks, the wait to adopt a child is years, and even when people make it through these periods, they do not have the assurance of paid parental leave. The United States is one of only a few countries not to mandate paid parental leave in contrast with the Eastern European country Estonia, which mandates up to 87 weeks of paid parental leave, according to Pew Research Center.
IU President Michael McRobbie announced Friday that the University will offer fully paid parental leave for up to six weeks for all staff employees of IU.
“This major new policy underscores the value Indiana University places on the well-being of its employees, and it is one that will help IU continue to attract and retain outstanding staff employees as the university prepares to enter its third century of service to the state, nation and world,” McRobbie said in the press release.
The program was endorsed by IU’s Board of Trustees at its April 14 meeting and will take effect July 1 and will be available for mothers and fathers who have a child, regardless of whether they are married.
IU already had paid parental leave in cases of childbirth and adoption for full-time faculty but the new policy extends the paid leave policy to a wider audience. The press release emphasized the importance of maintaining high-caliber faculty, staff and their families. Last week IU announced it would be renovating the IU Campus Children’s Center in a $500,000 project.
The children’s center provides year-round care for children ranging from six weeks to five years
Other Big Ten schools have policies on paid parental leave, but IU is one of the first to expand it to all staff employees, not just faculty. Purdue University, according to its Human Resource website, provides up to 240 hours of paid leave for “recovery from childbirth and/or to bond with the newborn or newly adopted child.”
Northwestern University provides its faculty with a Faculty Family Leave Policy which allocates different periods of paid leave for tenured and tenure track faculty at that university. Its policy is different than the required weeks of unpaid leave required by the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.
Faculty at the University of Notre Dame do not have paid parental leave, although serious medical problems can result in paid leave.
IU’s new policy will apply for all staff employees who work in full-time, non-temporary positions for at least a year. The leave must be taken within six months after birth or adoption.
“The addition of IU’s new Paid Parental Leave Policy for staff members places IU well ahead of most of the state’s employers in this regard and further solidifies IU’s position as an employer of choice,” McRobbie said.