UA's New Parental Leave Policy Provides Up to Six Weeks Paid Leave
When associate professor Channah Rock becomes a first-time mother in three months, a new UA policy will help ensure she has the much-needed time to bond with her newborn.
The UA's new parental leave policy provides employees with up to six weeks paid leave following the birth or adoption of a child.
The policy, which took effect this month, can be viewed here (PDF). The idea to establish a paid parental leave policy started as a suggestion to the UA's Campaign for Common Sense, a University-wide initiative designed to improve campus procedures and practices.
"I think that this new policy at the UA shows tremendous support for working parents in academia," said Rock, an associate professor and water quality extension specialist in the UA Department of Soil, Water & Environmental Science. "This policy will take away some of the added pressure to maintain your career as well as provide for your family and care for your child."
The policy applies to benefits-eligible employees who have been employed at the UA for at least 12 months prior to the start of the requested leave time. Paid parental leave is available only once during a consecutive 12-month period, and employees are required to return to work for at least 90 days following the approved leave.
Allison Vaillancourt, vice president of institutional effectiveness and Human Resources, said the policy is designed to support parents while they take time to bond with their new family members.
"This is a progressive benefit that complements our existing range of family friendly programs and services that are available through our UA Life & Work Connections program," Vaillancourt said.
Requests for parental leave must be submitted at least 60 days prior to when the leave period is expected to begin, using a form available on the Human Resources website.
During the leave time, which must fall within the first 12 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child, benefits will not be affected, and vacation and sick time accruals continue as normal. Employees who wish to extend the six-week leave period are able to request additional time off using their earned sick, vacation or compensatory time.
Prior to the implementation of the policy, new parents were able to combine their sick or vacation time with unpaid leave as part of the Family and Medical Leave policy.
"As a first-time parent, I feel very fortunate to work for an institution that is not only working to make changes to support an improved work-life balance, but also recognizes the positive long-term impacts of employee retention, economic gains through lower health care expenses, and overall enhanced well-being," Rock said.
A frequently asked questions page (PDF) regarding the paid parental leave policy is available on the Human Resources website.
Do you have ideas about how to do things better, faster or smarter? Share your thoughts on the Campaign for Common Sense website. The Campaign for Common Sense is a University-wide initiative to identify opportunities that facilitate collaboration, encourage innovation, reduce frustration and save both money and time. It offers the UA community the opportunity to question current practices and propose more sensible approaches. In addition to sharing your own ideas, you can also view all the suggestions and vote on which ones you support. Every suggestion will be reviewed and considered, and items that receive a large number of votes will receive special attention.