UGA Maternity Leave Discussion Pushed to Next Year

A Parental Leave Proposal was on the agenda for the last UGA Faculty Human Resources Committee Meeting this afternoon. However, Brenda Keen, Chair of UGA Human Resources said that they ran out of time during the meeting and that the proposal has been put off until next year.

The proposal was passed in November of 2014, so why was it supposed to be discussed again today? The proposal has not yet been accepted by the Board of Regents.

Currently, there is no official maternity leave at the University of Georgia – or anywhere in the state of Georgia. It’s not just a problem here, but a national one. Here are the facts:

  • The United States is the only developed country with no national paid maternal leave policy
    • This is out of three developed countries total, in the world
  • Only four states have paid maternity leave: California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island
  • In Georgia, maternity leave is currently filed under “sick days”, which can be limiting

This leaves a problem for new mothers who have used up all their “sick days”, causing them to return to work earlier than needed.

Just under 60% of employees are eligible under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Out of that percentage, only 1/6th of employees take it because of eligibility. This act is only for employees of firms with more than 50 people and they must have worked for at least 12 months and for 1,250 hours.

Laura Rhicard, a UGA faculty member says she knows many women who can’t take advantage of FMLA. “Because they work for a smaller company or for whatever reason that doesn’t follow under FMLA… They’re not able to take enough time… and they just have to make childcare arrangements when they aren’t healed physically or emotionally from the birth.”

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