Mercy rolls out parental leave for employees

St. Louis-based Mercy Health System now offers two-week paid parental leave for its nearly 40,000 employees across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.

The leave is available to birth parents, adoptive parents and foster parents..

"Placement of foster children comes with the same joy and challenges as a birth or adoption," said Heath Schroeder, a Mercy nurse in Ozark, Mo., who has fostered children for nearly four years. "To be honest, foster placements often come with more challenges because you are unable to prepare for the children in your home before they come, and there are many requirements and tasks to complete within the first week they are placed."

Cindy Rosburg, Mercy's chief human resources officer, said the new policy was a reaction to employee needs.

"Paid parental leave was one of the top concerns," said Ms. Rosburg. "In the U.S., only about 10 percent of health care organizations offer paid parental leave. Catherine McAuley, founder of the Sisters of Mercy, never married or had children herself, but she adopted children. She founded the order in Ireland almost 200 years ago to help address critical human needs, especially those of children and mothers. For Mercy, providing paid parental leave is the right thing to do. Catherine would be proud."

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