The University announced the first paid parental leave program for staff on Wednesday, providing four consecutive weeks of paid leave to new mothers and fathers.
The new benefit, which is available to benefits-eligible staff members, allows parents to take four weeks of paid leave during the 12 months following adoption, foster care or birth of a child.
It also extends the paid leave to the mother’s partner, or parents who adopt, who were not previously eligible for any paid leave from the University. The new benefits will begin July 1.
Staff members are those who work for the University but do not teach, according to the Office of Human Resources. Benefits-eligible part-time staff who work at least 20 hours per week will receive less time off, relative to their hours.
A similar paid parental leave program has been in place for faculty since 2008. The Staff Association Council, a group that promotes communication between staff and the rest of the University, requested this benefit for staff members, according to Cheryl Johnson, vice chancellor for human resources.
“We are excited to extend this benefit to our devoted staff as an investment in the well-being of their families,” Johnson said in an announcement she sent to University staff members Wednesday.
In a tweet, Mayor Bill Peduto commended Pitt on their new policy.
Previously, only mothers on staff who delivered a baby were eligible for any form of paid leave. After giving birth, they were eligible for six to eight weeks of Pitt’s short-term disability, which pays 60 percent of an employee’s salary. Under the new policy, a new mother would remain eligible for short-term disability for two to four additional weeks after the four weeks of fully paid leave.
When Julie Rosol, an undergraduate administrator for the department of communication, had a son in 2013 she was glad she could take several months of paid leave. Her husband Derek, also a staff member at Pitt, was not eligible for paid leave at the time.
“If it weren’t for our family’s support, it probably would have been tough,” Rosol said about Derek not having time off after their son’s birth.
The new paid leave policy will add to other leave programs for staff, including short-term disability and the Family Medical Leave Act, a federal law that allows employees to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave to care for a new child.