The Mormon Church, famous for imposing strict rules of conduct based on gender, released a new policy plan to its employees on Wednesday, which states that women who give birth will now be eligible for six weeks of paid maternity leave. All parents will also be able to take advantage of one week of paid leave to bond with their child, including in cases of adoption, the Washington Post reports.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced at the same time that it will change its employee dress code so that woman may now wear pantsuits or dress slacks in addition to the dresses and skirts they were previously required to don. Men also received the sweet benefit of being allowed to, “remove suit jacket or sport coats for hot weather and movement throughout the building.” They are so close to allowing water gun skirmishes in the hallway “to cool off,” I can feel it.
And, beginning at the end of this year, employees who have been sick, injured, or disabled for seven days will be eligible to receive two-thirds of their salary for the next 37 days of work.
The Post reports that the LDS is among the first religious nonprofits to offer paid parental leave (more commonly, the only option available to employees who work at these sorts of institutions is to take the 12 weeks of unpaid leave provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act). Although certain Christian organizations—the Chicago archdiocese and the Souther Baptist Convention, for instance—have been known to offer their employees generous (especially for this country) paid-leave plans.
Jana Riess, a blogger for Religion News Service, suggested to the Post the the rules are changing because, even in Mormon communities, “the very clear division of labor according to traditional gender roles is softening somewhat.”