Ball State trustees approve paid parental leave for university employees

Topics: Administrative, Board of Trustees

February 3, 2017

Shafer Tower
The Ball State Board of Trustees approved a policy today that allows benefits-eligible employees to take six weeks of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child.

The Ball State University Board of Trustees today approved a paid parental leave policy for employees upon the birth or adoption of a child. The policy is the result of collaboration between administration and the university’s Gender Equity Task Force, a group that had long championed the leave after employees said they placed high value on it.

“This family-friendly addition to our benefits package offers a great boost to our hardworking employees,” said Interim President Terry King. “We want our working parents to be able to focus on their families during those important first weeks a child is at home. This is the right thing for all of Ball State.”

The new policy will provide up to six weeks of paid leave to parents following the birth or adoption of a child. The paid leave is available to any benefits eligible Ball State employees who have been employed at least 12 months in continuous service before the leave date and must be taken within six month immediately following the birth or adoption of a child. The new policy will go into effect July 1.

Charlene Alexander, associate provost for diversity and director of the Office of Institutional Diversity, and co-chair of the Gender Equity Task Force, echoed King’s endorsement of this policy.

“This has been an issue task force members have been discussing with other staff and faculty since long before we officially organized in April 2015,” Alexander said. “The creation of this policy is a wonderful example of what can come from cooperation between faculty, staff and administration. This is absolutely a great benefit to Ball State families, and is right for the university as a whole.”

Task force members, in cooperation with university business affairs staffers, reviewed similar policies at other institutions, including several Indiana and Mid-America Conference schools. This new policy is consistent with the polices offered by our peer institutions said Bernard Hannon, vice president for Business Affairs and treasurer.

Board Chair Rick Hall said he was especially pleased with the adoption of the new family leave policy.

“I am delighted to see the successful culmination of the collaboration between the Gender Equity Task Force, faculty and the administration,” Hall said. “It shows what can be accomplished when we work together to make life better not only for university employees, but for their families as well.”

The board also approved adjustments to the university sick leave policy, extending the policy of allowing employees to use earned sick leave for the care of a family member with a serious health condition, as defined in the Family Medical Leave Act, from 10 days to 60 days.

Also reviewed by the board was an enhancement to the Employee Assistance Program, which the university first began offering in Spring 1983. Services will be enhanced by, including but not limited to, the following:

  • Providing employees up to five counseling sessions per year at no cost to the employee;
  • Streamlining calls to a single point of contact for employees to gain immediate access to live support 24/7/365 via video, on-line chat, telephone, or in person;
  • Locating services off campus, allowing employees to have a greater sense of confidentiality and increasing the likelihood of seek assistance; and
  • Providing onsite supervisor training on how to assist employees in need, along with training on how to make referrals.

“This is an investment in the mental health and well-being of our employees, and that benefits the university as a whole,” Hannon said.

The board also saw updates on construction projects including the Dr. Don Shondell Practice Center and the Earl Yestingsmeier Golf Center. Both projects, funded through the Cardinal Commitment campaign, are on schedule and the board reviewed design proposals for both facilities.

In other business, the board approved the discontinuation of same-sex domestic partners benefits programs effective July 1, 2017, since the June 26, 2015, ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell v. Hodges gave same-sex couples the constitutional right to marry.

Hannon also reported to the board that the university had refunded $68.8 million in existing bonds at a lower rate, resulting in a savings to students and taxpayers of $5.3 million in interest payments.

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