SUU Announces New Parental Leave Policy

Published: January 13, 2022 | Author: Kenzie Lundberg | Read Time: 2 minutes

New paid parental leave policySouthern Utah University is demonstrating a commitment to families and supporting an inclusive and diverse workplace with the approval of a new parental leave policy. Under the new policy, both primary and secondary caregivers are eligible to receive paid leave for the purpose of caring for and bonding with a new child whether by birth or adoption.

“The change of policy reflects SUU’s desire to integrate a culture of wellness and support for families on campus," said Trisha Robertson, assistant to the vice president for business strategy and previous Staff Association president. “It’s important to note that this was brought about by both the Staff Association and the Faculty Senate. If we can demonstrate a real value for changes as staff of the University, we have a voice and an avenue to make those changes. This change came from employees advocating.”

In 2020, the Utah legislature approved SB207 which included paid parental leave and postpartum recovery leave for state employees. However, higher education employees were excluded from the bill in part because many institutions had previously established their own paid parental and postpartum benefits. Conversations about the new policy at SUU began in September 2020 with staff and faculty members working together to create a policy that worked for parents from both sides of education.

Previously SUU allowed for staff members to take twelve weeks away for parental leave under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). However, employees had to rely completely on accrued sick and vacation leave for continued compensation while out. Many parents had to choose between spending additional time with a new child or supporting their family financially.

Under the new policy, employees receive six weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child and have the opportunity to extend that to twelve weeks of paid leave if they choose to use accrued vacation or sick time.

The University also recognizes that many couples work on campus and has included benefits for both parents in the policy. In this scenario, one employee is designated as the primary caregiver and receives six weeks of paid leave and the other is designated as the secondary caregiver and receives two weeks of paid leave. Each eligible employee is responsible for designating their own caregiver status.

Employees wishing to take paid parental leave must fill out required forms and information, and provide documentation as necessary to demonstrate eligibility. Employees should provide as much advance notice as possible and can contact Human Resources with any questions.

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