Your Health Matters: Northwestern College expands parental leave policy to fathers

Most employees are eligible for up to six weeks paid leave after having a baby

ORANGE CITY, Iowa -
Time off from work when you have a new baby is usually thought of as a topic that affects only women. But, more companies are adopting paternity leave policies and seeing the benefits for families and employers.
 
A Siouxland college may be at the forefront of this trend as it navigates somewhat uncharted territory. 
 
Daniel Den Boer remembers feeling pressure to get back to work immediately after the birth of his first child.
 
"I remember my first job, I took three days, and I sort of got side-eyes glances for taking three days."
 
It was hard on him and even harder on the rest of the family.
 
"And the toll that took on my wife was really hard to watch," recalls Daniel.
 
Things are worlds difference today.
 
Daniel is now any employee at Northwestern College in Orange City. He lectures in the religion department and runs the Youth Theology Institute. He and his wife, Autumn, also just welcomed their second child.
 
Daniel says, "A baby girl; her name is Scarlett."
 
While adjusting to baby number two wasn't as difficult for Daniel, neither was his work situation. Northwestern just introduced a new parental leave policy. New mothers AND fathers can take up to six weeks of paid leave to take care of and bond with baby.
 
Deb Sandbulte, Director of Human Resources at Northwestern, says, "They feel valued, and they feel that 'my family is important.'"
 
That innovative policy came out of this office, and the research of Human Resources Director Deb Sandbulte. She says improved parental leave is becoming a recruiting tool for American companies. Yet, Northwestern is one of only a couple Iowa colleges to try out the idea.
 
Deb says, "Yeah, it is full pay for six weeks. They're eligible after a year of employment. And we structured it so they would take it right after the [baby's] birth, because that's the most critical time for bonding. For us, it seemed to fit our culture and it seemed to be the right thing to do."
 
Deb says what Northwestern has given in monitory terms, they've gotten back in employee morale.
Daniel agrees. He says it's made a huge difference in bonding with his new baby...
 
Daniel says, "I've felt a part of it like I wasn't before."
 
And, makes him an even better employee.
 
"It's huge!" says Daniel. "It makes you proud to be a part to be here and be a part of that, for sure."
 
Northwestern also has an adoption leave program for parents who are bringing home a child, but can't tap into some of those medical benefits that come with a pregnancy.
 
 
 

 


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