Over the last several weeks, the Staff Union Bargaining Team has been working on an updated Leave article, including Parental Leave. Monday night during bargaining, the Union Bargaining Team proposed a Letter of Understanding that would allow the University to immediately institute a New Parent Leave Policy.
The policy would provide up to 6 weeks of paid leave–separate from your accrued sick leave or vacation–to the parent of a newborn, newly adopted, or newly placed foster child. Either or both parents may use it within a year of the birth, adoption, or placement, and the benefit applies per child. If an employee is ineligible for or has exhausted FMLA leave, they can still use up to 6 weeks of new parent leave as defined in this proposal.
The administration was supportive, even excited, to agree to six weeks of paid leave…but they do not want to institute this policy until after the contract is finished.
The Bargaining Team told the administration that they see no reason why this policy can’t go into effect immediately, especially if both parties agree with the language. (The parties signed similar Letters of Understanding to speed up implementation of the upcoming 2% annual raise, and regarding 2022 insurance premium increases.)
New Parent Leave is a big deal for us. Many Augsburg staff members are new parents or expecting. This policy isn’t an abstract legal exercise. This would have a real, tangible effect on us and the health of our families, and would help Augsburg keep pace with other universities which already offer a similar benefit.
We urge the administration to sign this Letter of Understanding immediately. We go to the bargaining table again on Thursday, and there is no good reason to withhold this improvement in our workplace.