Purdue Today

December 4, 2007

Senate, Córdova focus on paid parental leave policy

The University Senate and President France A. Córdova addressed the issue of paid parental leave at the Senate's Nov. 19 meeting.

The Senate discussed and unanimously approved a proposal to endorse a paid parental leave policy that would not require the use of sick leave. Córdova also spoke on parental leave, outlining plans for a review of the Senate's proposal.

In her remarks, Córdova stated that she has had preliminary discussions about a parental leave policy with her senior management team. In addition, Human Resource Services has surveyed and compared peer institutions' leave benefits to ensure that Purdue remains in line with the best practices of other universities.

"We do feel that parental leave makes sense for Purdue and will serve to make the University a more attractive and competitive employer," she said.

The next step in the process will be a review of the parental leave proposal by Executive Vice President and Treasurer Morgan R. Olsen and Interim Provost Victor Lechtenberg. The University's sick leave benefits also will be reassessed as part of the review.

"As we compared parental leave benefits at other institutions, it was clear that these programs articulate closely with sick leave benefits," Córdova said.

Córdova would like the review to begin soon so that policy decisions can be made early next summer.

"Iwant to ensure that we have a balanced leave approach that meets the needs of faculty and staff at all life stages, while considering workload and cost issues for departments and colleges," she said.

The review also will be coordinated with Purdue's strategic planning efforts. Córdova anticipates that the workplace quality of life group will discuss parental leave as it assesses the University's full range of benefits.

During the Nov. 19 meeting, the Senate voted in favor of a proposal that endorses paid parental leave. The proposal does not define a specific plan for Purdue, but gives as a guideline six weeks of paid leave, which is common at many peer institutions.

The Senate also approved an amendment clarifying that the recommended parental leave would apply to both faculty and staff.

The amendment was proposed after David Williams, professor of medical illustration, said there was widespread concern from staff that they would be excluded from any future policy. Williams is chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee, which first brought the proposal before the Senate in October.

"I believe it is important that a paid parental leave policy be inclusive of the entire Purdue community," he said. "That was and still is the intent of this proposal."

Senate reapportionment
In other business, the Senate approved its annual reapportionment.

The Senate will have one more senator from the College of Engineering and from the School of Veterinary Medicine, and one less senator from the College of Agriculture and from the College of Liberal Arts.
Representation among all other schools and colleges did not change.

The number of senators representing each area is based on how many faculty members are within each unit.
University Senate is composed of 102 members.