UA to provide four weeks of paid parental leave

Zach Johnson | @ZachJohnsonCW, News Editor

The University of Alabama will implement four weeks of paid parental leave for benefits-eligible employees by Jan. 1, 2022. The Department of Human Resources and the Office of Academic Affairs are developing an official policy.

The Faculty Senate, the Professional Staff Assembly, and the Office, Clerical and Technical Staff Assembly have been pushing for paid parental leave for years, and shared this proposal with UA administration in June. The PSA passed a resolution in support of paid paternity leave in 2017.

“From committee members within PSA, Faculty Senate and OCSTA who compiled information and discussed strategy for years, to the leaders on the most recent joint work group, and the folks in HR and administration who are carving out time, energy and funds to develop this benefit fully — I appreciate it, and I know expectant parents will appreciate it too!” PSA Staff Life Committee Chair Jackie Northrup said in an email. 

Last October, Auburn University implemented a six-week paid parental leave policy. The University of Alabama at Birmingham added four weeks of paid parental leave to its employee benefits in 2016. 

Northrup said she feels confident that the UA Department of Human Resources will “put together something that works well.” 

“This [is] an area in which I’d like to beat Auburn,” Northrup said. “But seriously, if you talk to new parents, you’ll often hear that they’re tired, and that it takes a lot of time and energy to adapt to life with a new child. I think it’d be great to have a bit longer, especially for staff members who haven’t been able to accrue a lot of sick leave and annual leave, but this is a great starting place, so we’re very excited.”

A 2017 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that maternal and family leave policies improve morale, productivity, recruitment and retention rates. 

The University has not officially announced the new policy, which will make the University the ninth of 14 SEC schools and the last of the three UA System campuses to provide parental leave. 

“This will attract the best and brightest in the nation to @UofAlabama,” UA Director of Analytics and former PSA President Robert Baxter tweeted. “Our employees that are beginning their careers, and families, will due so without undue financial burden. Thank you @OCTSA_UA, UA Faculty Senate and @BamaPSA for your hard work on this shared initiative!”

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