President Jim Ryan today announced the expansion of a new parental leave policy for all University of Virginia and UVA Health System staff members who are eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The new leave benefit, which takes effect Jan. 1, is intended to integrate with existing leave benefits to provide eight weeks of paid parental leave for eligible employees. It can be used within six months of the birth, adoption or foster placement of a child younger than 18 years of age. The number of hours granted will be pro-rated for part-time, eligible, salaried employees.
In June, Gov. Ralph Northam issued an executive order providing eight weeks of paid parental leave to state employees, including mothers and fathers. Previously, the benefit was available only to those who had given birth, and required them to use vacation time, sick time or short-term disability.
With Northam’s executive order, the new, paid benefit was immediately available to classified employees at the University, but not to other groups of employees. The expanded policy ensures parity across Grounds.
“Spending time with a child who just joined your family is incredibly important,” Ryan said. “Besides giving parents and children a chance to bond, studies have shown that paid parental leave makes children healthier, raises productivity at work and prevents parents from having to choose between taking care of a child and keeping their jobs.”
Expansion of the UVA policy to all eligible UVA employees was supported by academic, administrative and Medical Center leaders, the College at Wise and the University Physicians Group. “I want to thank UVA Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Kelley Stuck for leading the team tasked with figuring out how to get this done,” Ryan added.
Stuck said the policy change reflects the University’s goal to “provide high quality competitive benefits for our employees.”
“Governor Northam’s announcement provided a foundational structure for us to use in considering the expansion of our leave benefits,” she said. “Including parental leave makes sense, and our Human Resources team is working hard to implement this new policy across the University.”
Research has shown the many short- and long-term benefits of paid parental leave for both parents and children. Stuck said the expanded benefit bolsters the University’s position as a top-tier employer that recruits and retains talented faculty, staff and clinicians.
More information on the expanded benefit policy may be found on the University’s Human Resources website, including eligibility requirements and responses to frequently asked questions.