© 2023 WNIJ and WNIU
Northern Public Radio
801 N 1st St.
DeKalb, IL 60115
Northern Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

After Critique, NIU Now Offers Paid Parental Leave


Northern Illinois University unveiled a new paid parental leave policy this semester. It comes one year after some employees raised concerns that caregivers were unsatisfied.

Jessica Reyman is an associate professor of English at NIU.

Reyman is also a member of NIU’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission pioneered a survey last year to gauge employee opinion on how NIU makes considerations for new parents. Reyman was a lead researcher on the report.

“We knew that before, under the previous policy, NIU employees had to use their own sick leave and even [used] vacation days to be paid while on parental leave,” said Reyman. “And members of the Commission had heard anecdotal reports from faculty and staff who were unhappy with the ways in which family leave was administered for them on campus,” she said.

Reyman said the university administration was receptive to the Commission’s findings. “From our first meeting, it was really clear to the members of the commission that at this moment, with President Freeman leading the university, that the time had come for change,” she said.

Parental leave at NIU for employees will now include five weeks of paid time off. Reyman called the policy generous because it’s longer than some other Illinois universities. For example, the University of Illinois offers two weeks of paid leave. 

Reyman said this new policy contributes to the Commission’s efforts towards improving work-life balance at the university: “This is an initial step, and [we] can look for other changes to come.”


Related Stories