Consistent family leave policies necessary and long overdue


The lack of a clear family leave policy has been causing graduate students and postdoctoral fellows great angst. While students who work for a principal investigator that is paying them through a national grant are guaranteed family leave by law, others who are paid through the University are not necessarily granted that right.

Oftentimes, the only option these students have is to take an unpaid leave of absence, which can be crippling if that is their only source of income. The Editorial Board firmly believes that not only should the University have a clear and definite policy regarding family leave in place, this type of policy should have been instituted years ago. It is 2015 and it is time to grant these employees proper family leave.

The people most affected by the lack of a policy tend to be those in their mid-to-late 20s or early 30s, which is when many people choose to have children. No one should have to choose between their career and having children; forcing this decision upon graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, while they technically are not employees, is still just as unfair.

They work long hours and commit exceptional amounts of time and energy to their craft. As members of the University community just as employees and students are, and it is important for the administration to treat them with compassion and respect.

Importantly, the right to family leave should not be limited to just women. Their male counterparts, who also strive to balance work and family life, also deserve the right to be at home with their children. Paternity leave should be just as guaranteed as maternity leave; it is important that the two go hand-in-hand.

The fact that this still remains an issue today is, frankly, embarrassing. This really does seem like a problem that would have been solved 10 years ago, but here we are. The onus is on the University to provide its graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with a paid family leave.

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