by Ian Ringgenberg, chair, P&A Senate, and Shannon Farrell, co-chair, P&A Senate Benefits & Compensation Subcommittee
In the Fall of 2016, the P&A Senate Benefits & Compensation Subcommittee began investigating how the University of Minnesota's parental leave policies compared to other universities, and how well they worked for University employees. Parental leave seems to be a perennial topic of consideration on the committee, but one that rarely provides easy answers. Part of the difficulty with analyzing parental leave is that any individual birth may be covered by multiple types of leave used in sequence or simultaneously. In trying to assess the University's standing among peer institutions, we found a web of federal and state law, campus policies, disability leave, vacation time, and sick leave. Add to that the fact that the American system of parental leave is such an outlier on a global scale-- the only one of the 41 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) not to mandate paid maternity leave at a national level-- and it’s tough to know where to start to adjust policy.