Tuesday, July 23, 2024

University of Louisiana System adopts paid parental leave for employees

by BIZ Magazine

By Piper Hutchinson, Louisiana Illuminator

The University of Louisiana System will offer paid parental leave for all employees, system President Jim Henderson announced at a Board of Supervisors meeting Thursday.

The policy, similar to the state Civil Service rule and Gov. John Bel Edwards’ executive order that offers the benefit to most state employees, will offer employees of any gender up to six weeks of leave within three months of becoming a parent. Employees must have worked for the UL System or for another state agency for at least one year to qualify for the benefit.

The policy goes into effect Jan. 1 and will apply to more than 10,000 system employees. View the full policy below. 

Henderson said that while the policy might present some logistical considerations, the financial implications are relatively minimal.

The Civil Service rule did not apply to higher education employees, but the four university systems immediately announced plans to extend the same benefit to their employees. The LSU System has already adopted a similar policy, and the Louisiana Community and Technical College System is expected to follow suit this month. The Southern University System is studying the feasibility of adopting a paid family leave policy, spokesperson Janene Tate told the Illuminator.

Edwards praise the policy in a statement to the Illuminator.

“Thank you to these higher education leaders for following our example and adopting paid parental leave,” Edwards said. “Paid parental leave is not just doable; it’s the right thing to do.”

Gov.-elect Jeff Landry has raised concerns about the cost of the paid family leave policy for the state but has not yet said whether he will seek to revoke the benefit from state employees. Landry could easily rescind Edwards’ executive order that offered paid family leave to most unclassified employees, but the Civil Service rule, which was approved by the Civil Service Commission, would be harder to undo.

Higher education institutions adopting paid family leave might make it more difficult for the governor to reverse state employee policy. Most non-instructional staff at universities are in the same retirement system as most classified state employees, meaning an employee’s time at either a university or a state agency brings them closer to receiving retirement benefits.

A university’s ability to offer paid family leave could make employment on campus a more attractive option, proponents said.

Landry does not have direct control over the state’s four higher education system, although he will eventually have considerable influence over their four boards of supervisors through political appointments.

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