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March 30, 2017

Pitt to offer paid parental leave

A new paid parental leave policy for full-time regular and part-time regular staff members is rolling out July 1.

Allowing 20 consecutive work days of paid maternity/paternity leave in the 12 months following a birth, adoption or foster care child placement, the policy was implemented at Staff Association Council’s suggestion. Details are at

Staff members who have benefits are eligible for the new paid parental leave once they have completed six months of work at Pitt, at a minimum of 50 percent effort. They still must file for the Family Medical Leave Act and short-term disability programs.

Cheryl Johnson, vice chancellor for Human Resources, says the policy is relatively rare for universities but becoming more common.

“Too many people haven’t accumulated enough sick or vacation leave” to take adequate parental leave, she notes. “They are having to come back earlier than they contemplated or they are having to take unpaid leave. We did the analysis and we really thought this was the right thing to do.”

In 2016 there were 301 births among Pitt employees, spouses/partners and dependents, she says. Numbers weren’t available for the number of adoptions and foster care child placements at Pitt.

The cost to the University would be more in productivity than dollars, she notes. “It’s the goal of the University to do what we can to be supportive of work-life balance.”

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher and Gregory Scott, senior vice chancellor for Business and Operations, are supportive of the move, she adds. Considering “total rewards” for employees, Johnson says, beyond base pay, the University’s intention in creating this new benefit is “really helping people appreciate that we do care.”

—Marty Levine 

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