From: undersigned Indiana University employees, partners, and spouses
In July 2008, Indiana University adopted a family leave policy for full-time academic appointees that differed significantly from the prior one. Where the old leave policy focused on birth and adoption through partially paid pregnancy/childrearing leaves, the current IU policy extends twelve weeks of fully paid leave to eligible employees not just around birth and adoption but also for the primary care of a first-degree relation with a serious health condition. It also stipulates that the tenure clock stops during the time of the leave, unless the academic appointee requests otherwise.
Our current policy is humane and practical, and academic appointees across the pay scale have used it sparingly (forty-four or 0.75% of the eligible employees in the 2010-2011 school year). It enables men as well as women to take on caregiving responsibilities in times of critical need. This is in fact the only way academic employees can recover income during such unplanned events, as they cannot accrue time off for those events, unlike the staff at IU. Paid family leave is a fiscally smart policy that can help offset IU’s comparatively low salaries among peer institutions when it comes to recruiting and retaining top faculty, especially women, who disproportionately shoulder caregiving. Moreover, it supports the university’s cost-saving preventive healthcare efforts by reducing the stress on employees caring for sick, dying, and otherwise vulnerable loved ones; by making it more practical for pregnant women to take leave in the month before their babies are due, thus reducing their likelihood of receiving a C-section, and its associated expense, by a factor of four; and by giving new mothers time to establish breastfeeding, the success of which will have a long-term impact on their health and that of their insured dependents.
Without action by the Indiana University Board of Trustees, the current family leave policy will expire June 30, 2011, and revert back to what was in place before. We, the undersigned employees, partners, and spouses, call on the Board of Trustees to affirm your vision of Indiana University as a family-friendly institution and to renew the family leave policy as it stands without a built-in sunset date.
- --Employers with better-than-average paid leave programs find they result in greater employee productivity, lower absenteeism, and reduced turnover.
- --Women at IU make up 40% of eligible employees, yet currently take 61% of the paid leave.
- --While the university’s paid leave costs have climbed from $350, 561 (or 0.13% of the total budget) in 2007-8, to $830,871 in 2010-11, the rate of growth has leveled off (this academic year it represented the same tiny percentage out of the total budget as last year—0.27%).
- --Academic appointees do not take family leave casually. We share our stories to give you a sense of the human face these numbers represent. Paid family leave is an investment in the health of our families—and Indiana University’s leave policy should express an understanding that our families’ health is crucial to the vitality of this institution.
Petition signers: If you have taken family leave at IU, please consider sharing your story. Click on "Add a Personalized Message" above the "SIGN" button.
Jenny Robinson started this petition with a single signature, and now has 502 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.