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Kansas Health Institute Establishes Paid Parental Leave Policy

Extended Bonding Time Can Positively Affect Health of Entire Family

By Patrick E. Lowry, M.B.A. | November 30, 2018

Kansas Health Institute Establishes Paid Parental Leave Policy

The Kansas Health Institute (KHI) has expanded its parental leave policy. Eligible mothers and fathers now can take up to three months of fully paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. KHI also increased from five to six the number of months a new parent can bring their infant to work on a daily basis. 

In July, the KHI board of directors made these changes because it recognizes that families with a new child need time to bond. Paid parental leave can allow parents to stay home longer, and studies have shown that longer parental leave can positively affect the health of the entire family. For example:

  • Working mothers who receive three or more months of paid parental leave are more likely to breastfeed their infants. Babies who are breastfed are at a lower risk for sudden infant death syndrome and some chronic health conditions such as asthma and childhood obesity. Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to experience some types of cancer later in life.
  • Longer maternity leaves can lessen the odds of mothers experiencing postpartum depression.
  • Paid paternity leave allows fathers to spend more time with their child and to be more involved with childcare activities.

The new paid parental leave policy, in combination with the infant-at-work policy, makes KHI an industry leader in supporting families. It also coincides with an executive order signed last week by Gov. Jeff Colyer that provides up to six weeks of paid parental leave to state employees under the jurisdiction of the governor and that encourages other organizations to adopt similar policies.

“While many organizations offer unpaid parental leave, many new parents just can’t afford to take as much time as they need,” explained KHI President and CEO Robert F. St. Peter, M.D. “By offering paid leave to fathers as well as mothers, and by allowing parents to bring young infants to work, companies can contribute to the health and well-being of the entire family, which can lead to increases in productivity down the road.”

The Kansas Health Institute supports effective policymaking through nonpartisan research, education and engagement. KHI believes evidence-based information, objective analysis and civil dialogue enable policy leaders to be champions for a healthier Kansas. Established in 1995 with a multiyear grant from the Kansas Health Foundation, KHI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization based in Topeka.