Caregiving in Graduate School
Whether it’s caring for your children, parents, or other loved ones, TRU recognizes that graduate workers often provide the primary support for the lives and well-being of others. This intrinsic part of many peoples’ lives should be supported during their time at graduate school, allowing our graduate community to benefit from the inclusion of people from across life experiences and backgrounds. To this end, TRU has formed an active Parent/Caregiver Working Group that is centered around the particular and shared needs of people engaging in this life-sustaining care while pursuing their doctorates.
We believe that a graduate education is for everyone, regardless of family status or aspirations. The decision if and when to start or expand your family is a meaningful and personal one, and, most importantly, should not be deterred by a lack of support from one’s workplace. Caretaking for adult family members is an important and impactful experience that presents its own sets of rewards and challenges for graduate workers, and is a situation that should be supported and accommodated during one’s graduate career.
Issues directly concerning caretaking graduate workers include:
- Affordable standards of living for self and dependents
- Access to high quality child care and education
- Parental and caretaking leave
- Scheduling accommodations
- Workplace discrimination=
How can TRU help to work with and advocate for parents and caregivers?
A graduate union can help to advocate for parents and caregivers in graduate school, helping to make changes that benefit our community through collective action. Bi-weekly working group meetings are one venue where we gather to provide mutual support, discuss issues confronting parents and caregivers, and game plan policies that will provide the support and protections that graduate worker families need.
Current highlighted parent-caregiver proposals include:
- Discrimination protections
- Family stipends
- Extended family leave policies
- Increased access to family care options
- and more!
At the bargaining table, we have already secured:
- Weingarten rights for representation in disciplinary situations
- Interim stewards available to provide support to graduate workers facing caretaking challenges
Current Resources for Grad Caregivers at Johns Hopkins University
Care@Work (for both adult and childcare)