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October 24, 2002 Parental leave plan lauded




Concordia University has been honoured by the Quebec government for a new parental leave plan.

The award is the Prix ISO Familles 2002-2003, in the category for parapublic and municipal organizations of more than 101 employees.

It was established by the Quebec council on the status of women to acknowledge progressive policies in the workplace regarding families.

The Concordia plan was an initiative of Vice-Rector Institutional Relations and Secretary-General Marcel Danis. It permits new parents who are eligible for employment insurance (EI) to be compensated for the difference between their EI and up to 93 per cent of their salary.
The duration of the leave is being increased incrementally to Jan. 1, 2004, at which time the mother will be entitled to up to 52 weeks off with pay. Fathers and adoptive parents are eligible for the plan for up to 35 weeks.

CUPEU, the Concordia University Professional Employees Union, is the first group to accept the approach, and negotiations are ongoing with other bargaining units. In January, the 814 members of CUFA, the full-time professors’ association, voted in favour of the plan.

The ISO Familles awards were presented on March 13 at the second edition of a forum on family and work issues (Forum sur la conciliation du travail et de la famille) organized by the ministry of labour and the ministry of the family and children.

Present for the award were Nicole Saltiel, director of Employment and Employee Development, Employee Relations Advisor Andrée Anne Bouchard, and P. Charles Brown, a vice-president of CUPEU, which has about 260 members.

The award is featured in the current issue of the magazine L’Actualité.

The article starts (our translation): “Eugenia Xenos, Internet co-ordinator for Concordia University, is delighted. Thirty weeks of time off to be with her little one, while she is paid 100 per cent of her salary! Or very nearly.”

Xenos gave birth to her son, Alexander, last August.

The article also quotes Adriana Volpato, the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) advisor to CUPEU, who was instrumental in nominating the university for the award. “This is one of the few organizations to have given such a generous improvement to parental leave,” she told L’Actualité.