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hen Quincey Malauulu Otuafi was looking for a new job in college
admission, the parental leave and family-friendly culture at
Westminster College (UT) was a huge draw.
"Westminster has a really great leave policy, especially when
compared to other local institutions here in Utah. They offer 12-week
full paid leave and they offer it for both parents...It was definitely a big
factor in my decision to work at Westminster...I knew I wanted to start a
family and this leave was fantastic," said Otuafi, Westminster's director
of undergraduate admissions.
If approved by a supervisor, her school also offers employees the
option to bring their child to work for the first month following parental
leave, another perk that drew her to Westminster.
"I feel this constant anxiety about both work and motherhood. You feel
like both your identity as a working adult and your identity as a mother,
they seem like they shouldn't co-exist. Institutions like Westminster are
really helping that intersectionality exist and normalizing it," she said.
But many others don't have the same options.
According to Pew Research Center, the share of moms who are
working either full- or part-time in the US has increased over the past
50 years from 51 percent to 72 percent, and almost half of all two-

As Lundien and his husband started the adoption process, Lundien kept
his eye out for counseling positions with this benefit.
"At first I didn't quite get the importance of it. It was a great policy to
have and great for mothers and fathers who need that time to be home
with their kids, but it never really clicked in until I had been home (caring
for a newborn)-and it's a full-time job," he said.
"...It was so nice to know that school was left at school and I could
concentrate on family. That's another part of the 'a-ha!' moment...There
is no way I could be writing letters of recommendation, working on the
Common App, and all that other stuff that goes on with our job while I'm
trying to change a diaper, feed a baby, and tend to their needs."
At Worcester State University (MA), where Tiana Carrasquillo is the
associate director of admissions, the current parental leave policy allows
new parents to take up to 12 weeks of leave. Two of those weeks are
paid and the rest is unpaid, leaving many employees cobbling together a
patchwork of accrued vacation and sick time to receive pay for portions of
their leave.
"Using accrued vacation and sick time is flawed because if you
exhaust all of your vacation and sick time, you are left with nothing when
you return. This means you can't take a vacation or be sick-yourself or

"Employers could potentially be missing out on strong, talented, skilled workers
by ignoring the specific needs and wants of women with children...It's important
for employers to be upfront about parental leave policies and office culture as
early as the interview stage to attract and retain women with children."
-Tiana Carrasquillo, associate director of admissions, Worcester State University (MA)
parent families now include two full-time working parents. Yet despite
these workforce changes, paid parental leave has not followed suit.
Of the 41 nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) and the European Union, the US is the only country
that does not mandate any paid leave for new parents. Every other
nation requires at least two months of paid leave.
Five states-California, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and
Washington-and the District of Columbia all have state-mandated paid
leave plans in place. Starting in 2021, Massachusetts will join these ranks.
And as of last December, the US offers the Federal Employee Paid Leave
Act, which grants federal employees up to 12 weeks of paid time off for the
birth, adoption, or addition of a new foster child.
But paid leave policies in the US are far from the norm. Across
the counseling and admission profession, parental leave policies
vary wildly.
Rob Lundien, a counselor at Park Hill South High School (MO), was
able to take eight weeks of paid adoption leave. His school district
offers the same benefit to the primary caregiver of an adopted child as
for birth parents.




your child-for the year before or the year after giving birth in order to
save your time. Who can work for two years without taking a vacation or
being sick? Then there is the question of what to do if you don't have 10
to 12 weeks of vacation and sick time saved? What if you would like to
take more than 12 weeks to bond with your child?" Carrasquillo asked.
"I've known one too many mothers that have shared that 12 weeks
just wasn't enough time and that going back to work was very stressful.
Parents are forced to go back to work because they can't go without a
paycheck...Unpaid leave sends a message that taking care of an infant
isn't important, valuable work."
Lundien agrees. As he and his husband look toward the next hurdle-
childcare-he is realizing just how quickly his eight weeks of parental
leave flew by.
"While eight weeks is generous, it's almost like it's not long enough,"
he said.
Errol Wint, director of undergraduate admissions at Indiana University-
Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), said he notices that most new
parents, particularly new mothers, end up taking a lot more time than is
included in their paid leave policy.


NACAC - Spring 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NACAC - Spring 2020

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