Adoption and Equalities
The two links below lead to a real good news story involving one of our employees. The story contains elements of great progress in equalities and also highlights how the University supports adopting parents. This is about both the support that adopters need from their employers but also the great service that adopters are giving to society and the children for whom they provide an upbringing and a home.
This story involves Dr Suzanne Lavelle who is a researcher with the Department of Genetics. Suzanne’s experience highlights two issues. Firstly that being gay and part of a same sex relationship was no barrier to adopting and secondly, though statutory adoption leave provisions are the same as that for maternity leave, the need for time off prior to adoption appears to be far greater than that required before maternity (significant health issues aside). Suzanne was fortunate in that the Department of Genetics supported her through the process and she was able to juggle her leave and receive compassionate time off. Now the University's new adoption leave policy makes the following provision.
The University is keen to support all University employees that are prospective parents. Although legislation does not require it, the University will grant a "reasonable" amount of paid time off work for adoption preparation at the normal rate of pay for employees that are prospective adopting parents. This includes adoption training, meetings with the adoption agency and meetings with the prospective adoptive child. The amount of paid time off granted will be determined at the University's discretion.
You will see that another issue arises as well. Suzanne originally planned to be the one to take adoption leave. However as she is working on a project with a fixed end date the funding would have run out before she could complete the work.
We thank Suzanne for allowing us to highlight her story. There is an arising equality issues that we should pursue, perhaps through the Athena Swan work that is currently being undertaken in Departments, but in the meantime we offer our congratulations to Suzanne and her partner.