Faculty Fights For New Parents’ Time Off

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Ohio University faculty and staff on the Parental Leave Task Force gathered Wednesday to illicit their thoughts and opinions on OU's parental leave policy. 

Pam Benoit, OU provost, appointed the specialized task force a few months ago to address the current parental leave time policies at OU. 

The university's current policy follows the Family and Medical Leave Act’s bare minimum standard, offering the faculty member 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

The new task force’s goal is to formulate a consistent, easily accessible and cost efficient policy, which strives to benefit the parents that are out with reasonable pay. 

“We need are trying to work with the university and gather information on budgets within departments to see what is realistic.  We need to change the climate of parental leave so it’s expected and so that our staff can still survive on some sort of salary,” said Parental Task Force member Eleni Zulia.

The faculty and staff on the task force were primarily concerned about money. Many departments can’t afford to pay someone who isn’t working along with a replacement. 

Audience members questioned who the parental leave policy will apply to.

While the policy applies to faculty, staff and graduate students, some question if undergraduate students can take advantage of the policy too.

“If both parents work for the university and have a child, do they both get the benefits at the same time?” asked Physics Professor Daniel Phillips.

Multiple people in the audience commented on student scheduling and teaching. 

Professors were concerned about who would take over the classes of faculty who go on parental leave mid-semester.

While some questions still remain to be answered, the Parental Leave Task Force and Benoit will revise their recommendations according to the feedback they receive and prepare a revised report. 

After the report is perfected, the provost will move forward by proposing it to OU President Roderick McDavis, who could adopt it as a university policy.

Until then, the task force’s report will consist of recommendations for departments to use.