The university has created a policy which offers graduate assistants paid parental leave.
To provide graduate assistants who become parents with additional time off to adjust to their new family situation, Colorado State University (CSU) has implemented a Graduate Assistant Parental Leave Policy, effective from the fall semester 2016.
The policy grants those who are enrolled on a full time master’s or PhD programme to be eligible. For those who are primary caregivers, they are entitled to take up to six weeks of paid parental leave and non-primary caregivers are offered three weeks.
The purpose of the policy is designed to help graduate students manage their work-life balance. The introduction was implemented by Katherine Lininger, Cheryl Bowker and Grace Miner, who are graduate students at CSU and worked alongside the dean. The three individuals seemed to be very passionate about this and it was a theme that unified the three of them.
Katherine Lininger said: “At any level that we can support professional-personal balance, everyone wins.
“Giving parents options that promote professional-personal balance allows them to excel in their academic pursuits. Financial support is an important piece of the equation.”
To implement the policy, a task force was put in place and survey was conducted to help form the policy.
Bowker too added: “Working on the policy opened our eyes to a myriad of issues we had not fully considered initially. One of the most striking takeaways from the survey was the wide range of experiences students had in their departments and the need to develop a policy that was inclusive to both genders as well as adoptive parents.
“We wanted to further encourage a culture that values and supports everyone. This policy is a step in the right direction.”
Additionally, alongside the parental leave policy, faculty staff are also encouraged to be flexible towards parents returning from leave.
The dean of the Graduate School, Jodie R. Hanzlik, commented: “I applaud the work and dedication of these insightful graduate students. Their advocacy created impressive momentum in the development of the policy.
“It’s through the leadership of these students and shared dedication of many entities across campus that we were able to provide a significant new benefit to our graduate students who become parents.”
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