Maternity/Paternity Leave for Ignatius Teachers

Kylie Kuzinar '20, Writer

Students may have noticed in the last few years (or even months) all the teachers going on maternity and paternity leave. However, this wasn’t always available at Ignatius.

Ms. Schmiedeler worked alongside another teacher and board members to implement maternity/paternity leave policies at Ignatius. Ms. Schmiedeler stated how there was not a policy when she was pregnant with her first child. Surprised, Ms. Schmiedeler gathered with a fellow English teacher to draft a policy. However, she said that this was not because Ignatius did not support parental leave, but because it was not a big issue in previous years. In 2003, when Ms. Schmiedeler was expecting her first child, it was before Ignatius had a leave policy and expecting parents had to use FMLA, which is 12 weeks of unpaid leave, or sick days.

It took three years, but in 2006 Ignatius implemented a policy that granted leave: half paid and half sick days.

Ten years later, the archdiocese created a more generous policy: 12 weeks of paid leave, and it did not include the taking away of sick days.

Dr. Gholson, who is currently on paternity leave, was surprised when he learned about the policy Ignatius
offers and believes it is fair that both men and women get equal time since it expresses “egalitarianism toward men’s and women’s capabilities to raise children.” Ignatius is more generous than other schools in the country, allowing 12 weeks to both men and women.

Dr. Gholson states, “it’s a scandal that America is the world’s only developed country that does not provide mandatory maternity leave; it is as if our society believes children emerge fully-formed into the world, like Athena emerged from Zeus’ forehead. But at Ignatius we extend leave even to men, which it’s quite rare in the working world, and my family is very grateful for it!”

Mr. Hoarty who also took paternity leave said it was a positive experience and he was grateful for the 12 weeks he was given. This allowed him and his wife to welcome their daughter, which he did not know if would have been as extended without this policy. Mr. Hoarty was especially grateful that his wife’s workplace offered a similar policy, and he says it shows a company’s support and in turn allows the company to run more efficiently upon return.

An additional teacher, Ms. Turkowski, stated how her husband also got 12 weeks of paid paternity leave when their son, Emmett, was born and how it alleviated some pressure off her. Ms. Turkowski took maternity leave last year and was especially grateful for this policy. It allowed for memories that they would not have witnessed if this policy did not exist. While she took extra unpaid time off, she is grateful to
Ignatius and empathized how the first five years of a child’s life are critical to their development, and, in an indirect way, this policy is contributing to the formation of a person.

Ignatius’ maternity/paternity leave policy fits into our core values as a school. It allows our faculty to be there for their child and create substantial memories. Male or female, you deserve to be there for your baby.