As an Augustinian University, family values are of core importance to all members of campus. However, the University’s maternity and paternity leave policies do not reflect the family values that are associated with the Catholic traditions on campus.
The University’s maternity leave policy includes the mimimum requirements from the Family and Medical Leave Act. The requirements include unpaid leave up to 12 weeks and the option to tack on paid sick days and paid vacation days within the 12 week limit. This bare minimum policy that requires paid leave is funneled through sick days does not demonstrate a commitment to family values.
As a University rooted in Catholic values that upholds the importance of family, it is shocking that FMLA benefits are the only leave benefits available to new parents on campus. Paid maternity and paternity leave benefits as well as an extension of leave should be top priorities for the University.
The majority of families in the US are now dual income and the cultural ideology of the breadwinner family model is simply no longer the reality. Therefore, leave benefits should acknowledge the dual caregiving and income earning roles that most families take part in. Leave benefits should also acknowledge that three months is too short.
The current leave benefits at the University operate under the assumption of single earner families. Villanova must take the initiative for equality by guaranteeing paid leave benefits and leave beyond the minimum 12 week requirement.