Baylor University Announces Paid Parental Leave for Staff, Adoption Assistance Program for Faculty and Staff

  • Parental Leave Signing Ceremony
    Baylor Interim President David E. Garland officially signed the parental leave and adoption assistance policies during a ceremony in the President's Office at historic Pat Neff Hall. He was joined by (L to R) Hank Steen III and Cheryl Gochis with Human Resources and Wil Telfer and Lori McNamara with Baylor's Staff Council. (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
  • Parental Leave Signing Ceremony 2
    Baylor Interim President David E. Garland officially signed the parental leave and adoption assistance policies during a ceremony in the President's Office at historic Pat Neff Hall. (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
  • Parental Leave Signing Ceremony 3
    (L to R) Jessica Morrow, assistant director of stewardship in University Development, and Sarah Brockhaus, director of contract administration in procurement services, were instrumental in helping Human Resources develop parental leave at Baylor. They joined Interim President David E. Garland and Cheryl Gochis, vice president for human resources and chief human resources officer, for the official policy signing ceremony. (Robert Rogers/Baylor Marketing & Communications)
March 30, 2017

New benefits place University as a leader in Central Texas and among higher education institutions

Media Contact: Lori Fogleman, 254-710-6275
Follow Lori on Twitter at @LoriBaylorU
Follow Baylor Media Communications on Twitter: @BaylorUMedia

WACO, Texas (March 30, 2017) – Baylor University Interim President David E. Garland today announced expansive new policies that provide paid parental leave for staff and an adoption assistance program that benefits both staff and faculty at the University. The policies go into effect April 1, 2017.

Both benefits place Baylor at the forefront of universities nationally and in Texas in offering parental leave and adoption assistance and further enhance an already robust benefits plan for Baylor staff and faculty. Garland officially signed the policies into effect during a Thursday ceremony in the President’s Office at historic Pat Neff Hall and was joined by members of Baylor’s Staff Council.

“Baylor values its faculty and staff as essential to the fulfillment of its mission, and these important additions to staff and faculty benefits reflect our ongoing commitment to families and the cultivation of a caring community that extends beyond our campus,” Garland said. “We give thanks to the Human Resources team and Baylor Staff Council for their good work and collaboration on the development of these new benefits.”

Baylor’s parental leave policy will provide up to four weeks of paid leave for full-time staff (female and male) who become parents through birth or adoption. The policy, which is available to staff immediately upon employment, gives parents time and flexibility to bond with their new child/children and foster the work-life balance that is vital to families’ capacity to flourish. In 2014, when Garland was serving as interim provost, Baylor introduced a paid maternity leave policy for female faculty. That benefit went into effect in 2015.

The adoption assistance program for full-time Baylor faculty and staff will help defray expenses associated with the adoption process and affirms the choice by staff and faculty to grow their families in this way. The program will reimburse up to $6,000 of qualifying adoption-related expenses per adoption, up to two children per year. Faculty and staff are eligible to participate in the program following one year of full-time employment with the University.

Baylor joins SMU as the only other Texas university that provides both staff and faculty with paid parental leave. Other national universities with paid parental leave include the University of Notre Dame, Northwestern University, Brown University, Duke University, Wake Forest University, Vanderbilt University and Georgetown University.

Locally, a 2015 benefits survey commissioned by the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce found that 32 percent of Waco-area businesses who responded to the survey provided paid parental leave to salaried staff. For hourly staff, 27 percent of these local businesses provided paid parental leave.

With the adoption assistance program, Baylor is the only university in Texas and one of the few nationally that provides this benefit. The new policy places Baylor among top adoption-friendly universities in the country, including Stanford University ($10,000), New York University ($6,000), Emory University ($5,000), Ohio State University ($5,000), Notre Dame ($3,000) and Vanderbilt ($3,000). NYU, Emory, Ohio State and Notre Dame, along with Northwestern College in Iowa, were the education institutions named by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to its annual list of 2016 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces.

“This is a step forward for families in the Baylor community and one we feel will enrich the lives of our staff and faculty by improving their family time and resources,” said Cheryl Gochis, vice president for human resources and chief human resources officer at Baylor. “We want our employees to experience excellent support for their families, as they work to create an excellent experience for students. We feel these additional benefits completely align with our mission and are an investment in our greatest resource – our employees. We did look at benchmarks for parental leave to ensure our new policies were competitive, but our best data came from feedback and input from our employees.”


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.

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