University’s parental leave still flawed

Being a new parent while working in academia is tough. At the University of Minnesota, it’s especially difficult when new mothers get just six weeks of paid leave.

New fathers are only allotted two weeks of paid time off to care for their newborn.

Most schools across the Big Ten don’t offer much more family-friendly policies for their faculty members either, showcasing a national trend in higher education in which young couples are pushed to set aside starting a family in order to continue their work.

For academia, a purportedly progressive field, it’s disappointing to see policies that dissuade healthy families from getting off on the right foot when they have children.

One University graduate instructor told the Minnesota Daily on Wednesday that “the academic culture punishes women for having children and prioritizing families along with their careers.”

Thankfully, members of the University’s Women’s Faculty Cabinet are drafting a reformed parental leave policy. Details of their proposal are unclear at this point, but we hope they take the opportunity to set an example for all of higher education and craft a policy that makes the University a leader in progressive, family-friendly policies that offer sufficient leave time.

For a new mother, six weeks of paid leave isn’t enough time for the woman to recover from a pregnancy, let alone spend a sufficient amount of time bonding with their infant.

Let’s hope that the faculty members’ proposal is a strong one and that administrators find a way to enact it.