Emory University expands benefits to include paid parental leave

By Erin Long | Emory Report | June 13, 2016

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Emory's new paid parental leave policy offers three weeks of paid parental leave for University staff who experience a birth or adoption on or after June 1.

Emory University announced that it is expanding its benefits offerings to include paid parental leave for University staff. The new paid parental leave policy offers three weeks of paid leave to new parents who experience a birth or adoption on or after June 1, 2016.

“We are very excited to offer this new benefit for our staff,” says Theresa Milazzo, associate vice president of human resources. “It not only provides new parents extra bonding time with their child, but also a financial cushion during a very important time in their lives.”

Unlike more traditional maternity leave policies, Emory’s policy includes both mothers and fathers. If both parents are eligible staff employed by Emory University, each parent may receive paid parental leave.

Emory’s paid parental leave benefit grew from the work of Emory’s WorkLife Resource Center. Since its inception in 2008, the Center has helped develop several innovative programs and policies to meet the ever-changing needs of Emory’s working families. Benefits such as the Emory Childcare Network, emergency back-up care, and adoption reimbursement have all been the result of the Center’s work. Paid parental leave was the next logical step.

“It is really important that parents have the time to adjust to the challenges that a new child brings," explains Audrey Adelson, manager of worklife and recognition. "Paid parental leave helps make this more affordable.”

Emory joins a number of other universities and companies across the U.S. which are also expanding parental leave policies. Milazzo notes, “Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also helps make Emory University a more attractive workplace. Many workers are looking for paid paternal leave as part of their benefits package, so this will definitely help with recruitment and retention efforts.”

Emory employees can use paid parental leave at any time in the first year after a birth or adoption. Staff members already receive 12 weeks of unpaid leave for a birth or adoption as part of Emory’s Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy. The new paid parental leave can be taken during the FMLA period or any time within the first 12 months after the birth or adoption.

“We really designed the policy to be as flexible as possible,” says Milazzo. “We realized that some of our staff may want to use it during the FMLA period, but others may decide to use it later in the year. It’s up to the new parent when to use it, but just like other types of leave, they should their discuss plans with their manager.”

Eligibility

The paid parental leave policy applies to university staff, post-doctoral fellows, and librarians; it does not apply to students, medical house staff or faculty. Medical house staff and faculty have separate parental leave policies.

To be eligible, regular staff employees must be scheduled to work at least 20 or more hours per workweek and must have worked for Emory University for 12 consecutive months immediately prior to a birth or adoption. Temporary employees are not eligible.

More details about Emory’s paid parental leave benefit, eligibility, and how to use it can be found on the paid parental leave webpage.