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Multiple policy updates prompted by employee feedback

This time of year brings with it many new things – a new fiscal year recently began, new pay scales went in to effect and new University policies are now also in effect.

The University’s approved updates to the paid parental and bereavement leave benefits as well as the updates to the grievance policy, which follows the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) concept, all took effect July 1, 2015.

Changes to all three policies were responsive to feedback that Human Resources received from faculty and staff. Feedback in regards to the paid parental and bereavement leave benefits outlined  requests for more flexibility related to bereavement leave and equal benefits for all on paid parental leave. Grievance policy feedback carried the same tone in that those who shared their experiences asked for a more user-friendly, non-adversarial approach to the process.  

Employees spoke and their concerns were heard as the updates to the policies put in place more flexible, user-friendly, family-friendly and non-adversarial processes.
As a reminder, the updates to the policies are as follows:

Paid Parental Leave
The updates to the Paid Parental Leave (policy VI.E.3) align leave benefits for all parents. For births or adoptions that occur on or after July 1, 2015, all eligible employees can receive up to six weeks of paid parental leave.  The alignment of leave benefits also eliminates the need for leave “sharing” provisions that currently apply when both parents were eligible Purdue employees.  Those provisions are eliminated under the new policy. 

Parent: A male or female faculty or staff member, graduate student employee, or post-doc who is a birth mother; a father of the birth child; a same-sex domestic partner of the birth mother; a same-sex domestic partner of the birth father; an adoptive mother or father; a same-sex domestic partner of an adoptive mother or father.

Bereavement Leave
The University’s Bereavement Leave (found in policy VI.E.2) is increased from three to five days for immediate family members and relatives living in an employee’s home with greater flexibility to take bereavement leave over a longer period of time. Additionally, bereavement leave for fellow employees is increased from one-half day to a full work day.

Immediate family: Employees are eligible for up to five workdays of paid bereavement leave over six consecutive calendar months for the death of the employee's spouse/same-sex domestic partner, parent, child, grandparent, great grandparent, grandchild or sibling, and corresponding in-law, or step-relative of employee's spouse or same-sex domestic partner.

Relative living in employee's home: Employees are eligible for up to five workdays of paid bereavement leave over six consecutive calendar months for the death of the employee's uncle, great uncle, aunt, great aunt, niece, great niece, nephew, great nephew, cousin or corresponding relative of the employee's spouse or same-sex domestic partner if the relative lived in the employee's home.

Fellow employee: Employees are eligible for up to one workday of paid leave to attend the funeral of a fellow employee, subject to the staffing needs of the employee's department as determined by the head of the department.

Dispute Resolution (formerly Grievance)
Updates to the policy (VI.D.1) include the use of the term “Dispute” in lieu of the term “Grievance.”

The revamped dispute resolution policy will provide those employees experiencing a grievance – a concern, complaint or issue with their employment or working conditions – the opportunity to improve the situation at hand and the ability to move forward in a positive manner. The new policy allows opportunity for additional resources and training for both parties as well.

Human Resources employees who have been trained in workplace alternative dispute resolution will work as mediators between the two parties and facilitate an informal resolution process. This allows for one-on-one conversations for both parties to share their perspective of the situation from which the mediators can provide resolution recommendations.

If it is ever necessary to go beyond the recommendations made by the mediator, the updated process allows the parties to discuss their situations with a three-member panel of their peers. The panel has the ability to ask questions and dig deeper into the situation. This step helps ensure the recommendation made to the vice president of human resources for the final outcome is fair.

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