10/10/2022 McMurry News

(ABILENE, Texas – Oct. 10, 2022) – McMurry University announces a new policy to support employees adding to their family through birth, adoption, or foster care placement by offering paid maternity leave and primary caregiver leave. The expanded-leave policy provides 12 weeks of paid leave for employees – faculty and staff. According to the American Psychology Association, the United States remains one of just six countries worldwide that does not offer widespread paid parental leave, despite public support and strong evidence of its mental and physical health benefits.

The new policy applies to all full-time employees of the University. Revisions to the handbook were approved by the Board of Trustees and added on September 30, 2022. The new Family Leave Policy is in addition to accrued vacation and sick leave employees may already have, and will go into effect September 30, 2022.

In 1993, the United States Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), updating it in the years since. The FMLA guarantees eligible employees working for covered employers up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave for a qualifying reason, but this still hurts families economically and psychologically. A 2019 CNBC story notes that despite gaining education and experience, mothers who take unpaid FMLA still face an uphill battle in the workplace. In fact, estimates report that FMLA may cost them $16,000 a year in lost wages, according to an analysis of Census data by the nonprofit advocacy organization National Women’s Law Center in 2018.

“We are thrilled to be able to support our employees who are growing their families,” said University President Dr. Sandra S. Harper, “and we hope our new policy adds extra relief and comfort to that special time.”

Families are important to McMurry, and the University hopes that paid parental leave will significantly affect parents and children, making it easier to balance their work and family lives. It will support women to increase their breastfeeding time and for both parents to maintain their jobs while allowing for time for bonding with their children.

“The University has long supported a workplace that is family friendly, and in September, the institution took one more step to demonstrate that by approving the family leave policy,” Associate Vice President for Human Resources & Compliance Lecia Hughes said. “I’m grateful to the University administration for working with the benefits committee to review this proposal and sending it to the Board of Trustees for final adoption and approval.”

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