The new parental leave arrangements, which come into effect this month, are part of a range of family-friendly benefits that are being implemented to better support working parents at the university.
The maternity and paternity leave arrangements, which are also available for adoptive parents, allow new parents to take six months of leave at full pay, followed by a further 13 weeks of leave at statutory pay. The policies are both available for employees as soon as they start work at the university and parents can choose to share their leave entitlement, if they so wish.
Previously, employees were entitled to maternity, adoption and shared parental leave at full pay for eight weeks, followed by 16 weeks at half pay as well as statutory maternity pay. This was replaced by the new arrangements on 6 April 2018.
In addition, female employees undergoing fertility treatment will also be able to take five days of leave a year on full pay, while partners of those taking fertility treatment will be able to take two days of leave in order to attend relevant appointments.
The University of Exeter is opening a new £3 million nursery for its employees’ children in September 2018 as part of the improvements to its family-friendly benefits. The new nursery will have more places available than the university’s existing provision and it will also have extended opening hours, and extra outdoor space for the children to use.
The enhanced family-friendly benefits will join the benefits the University of Exeter already has in place for working parents. This includes the ability to claim for additional childcare costs if attending conferences away from home, designated breastfeeding rooms at all of the university’s campuses, the ability to request a phased return-to-work after maternity, paternity or shared parental leave and a staff network for parents and carers to support staff to manage their work and family responsibilities.
The university also provides a flexible and home working policy for employees with caring responsibilities and emergency leave for employees whose child becomes ill.
Currently, 100% of academic staff at the University of Exeter already return to work after maternity or paternity leave.
Jacqui Marshall, deputy registrar and director of people services and global partnerships at the University of Exeter, said: “Gone are the days when staff, including early career researchers, feel they have to choose between having children and career progression. This package of measures shows not just a long-term commitment by the University of Exeter to our employees, but our dedication to investing in staff at crucial periods of their career.
“By investing in new parents so they can take maternity and paternity leave on full pay from their first day at work, we are demonstrating the depth of our commitment to family-friendly working.”