Female employees of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are now eligible for six weeks of paid maternity leave. That’s one of a few new benefits announced to church workers this week.
Along with the six weeks of paid leave, both men and women are eligible for a week of "paternal leave" meant to encourage bonding with a newborn. Until now church employees had to save up vacation and sick days or go unpaid for up to 12 weeks under the Family Medical Leave Act.
Former church employee Charlotte Keneipp says she worked alongside a lot of mothers who found the old policy challenging.
"A lot of my friends just left employment after they had their babies," says Kaneipp.
Keneipp says she’s excited about the change and glad to see the Mormon church showing a commitment to a healthy work-life balance.
Other new benefits include short-term disability pay, a gym in the church office building on Temple Square and a slightly relaxed dress code. Women may now wear dress pants and men can wear dress shirts with a little bit of color, they also have the option of removing suit jackets during hot weather.