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Cher Hill, baby Kai and Rob McTavish

Rob McTavish (above right) a program director for the Centre for Online and Distance Education, stayed home with baby Kai so that wife Cher Hill could continue her PhD studies at SFU.

Top-10 family-friendly employer

January 10, 2008

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SFU is one of Canada’s top 10 family-friendly employers, according to Today’s Parent magazine. The university is the only post-secondary institution and one of only two B.C. employers to make the 2008 list.

Among its strong points, the magazine cites SFU’s commitment to topping up parental leave benefits to 100 per cent of salary levels for new mothers, fathers and adoptive parents, and the availability of on-site daycare, including popular summer day-camp programs for kids.

The magazine also points to a “distinct surge” in the availability of a range of salary top-up initiatives—and not just by the expected types of employers.

“We applaud SFU for its commitment to families,” says new mom Cher Hill, an SFU doctoral candidate in education. Her spouse, Rob McTavish, a program director for the Centre for Online and Distance Education at SFU, has been home with baby Kai for the past six months. “I’d like to acknowledge how supportive my supervisors were in my taking the leave—that really made all the difference,” says McTavish.

A salary top-up shortly after he returns in April will help offset the costs of taking the time to be with his family.

“This means a lot to us—and I would think it would be a great incentive when recruiting top faculty and staff,” says Hill, who is preparing to teach in January while completing her degree.

“It’s wonderful that SFU has family friendly policies in place—I hope this recognition encourages the university to continue working towards other ways to help its employees balance their work and family lives,” says Hill.

Meanwhile, the couple can attest to the popularity of SFU’s childcare centre—they signed up when Hill was two months pregnant and remain on waiting lists for both infant care and toddler care.

The other top B.C. employer cited by the magazine is Vancouver-based Next Level Games Inc., a custom computer-programming firm.
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