April 23, 2020
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A fresh change in the Kenyon parental leave policy means that both parents employed by the College may now take up to a six-week leave of absence upon the birth of a child or an adoption.
President Sean Decatur and the senior staff team, acting on an initiative from the Staff Council, recently approved a change that makes the parental leave policy consistent throughout the College. The policy previously allowed only faculty/faculty parents or faculty/staff parents to take the leave once a year. The policy now says that staff/staff parents may also take full advantage of parental leave.
Christopher Ellsworth ’96, technical director in the Department of Dance, Drama and Film, pursued the policy change as Staff Council co-chair. “This is important for college employees because we now have a policy that is consistent College-wide,” Ellsworth said. “I also think it's good because it is tangible proof that the senior administration not only listens to concerns but works toward addressing those concerns. I feel like the president and Senior Staff are truly working in everyone’s best interests to make Kenyon the best place it can be for everyone.”
Ellsworth is the parent of two young children with Anne Ellsworth ’04, associate director of annual giving and director of parent giving, and only one of them could not take full advantage of parental leave. “Had one of us been a faculty member and one an administrator, both of us would have gotten time off,” he said. “But as the policy was written, if both folks in the couple were staff or administrators, only one was offered the time off. I thought that stunk.”
The Staff Council proposal was submitted to Jennifer Cabral, who carried it to the president and Senior Staff. The updated policy can be found here: https://www.kenyon.edu/parental-leave.
Stephen Martin, associate director for enterprise systems and Staff Council co-chair, helped write the improved policy. “Parental leave is a very generous benefit provided by the College,” Martin said. “Finding a way to allow all employees more consistent access was the goal. All new parents should be extremely excited about this change.