LDS Church Educational System Employment Policies for Mothers
I contacted the manager of my local Seminary and Institute Preservice Training Office today to clarify Church Educational System employment policies regarding mothers. Here are some of the things I learned.
Question: Is it true that mothers may not be seminary teachers?
Answer: No, that is not true. Mothers of young children are discouraged from being seminary teachers.
Question: So CES does hire mothers to be seminary teachers?
Answer: CES will hire mothers whose children are all over 18 and whose children have all graduated from high school.
Question: CES also hires women without children to be seminary teachers, right?
Answer: That is correct.
Question: What happens to a female seminary teacher who has a baby? Can she continue teaching seminary?
Answer: She stops teaching seminary when she has a baby.
Question: She is fired?
Answer: No. Female seminary teachers understand this when they are hired. They know that they will only work as seminary teachers until they have children.
Question: Do they have the option of continuing to teach when they become mothers?
Answer: They do not want to keep working full-time after they have children. They want to stay home with their children.
Question: Doesn’t the Family Medical Leave Act require employers to allow mothers to return to work after maternity leave?
Answer: The Church has met all of the legal requirements to implement this policy.
Question: Do the same policies apply to institute teachers?
Question: May mothers of young children work for CES in other capacities, such as secretaries or administrators?
Answer: Yes. Institute and seminary teaching positions have unique requirements. We do have young mothers working at CES in other kinds of positions and in other church departments.
Question: Do the same policies apply to unpaid seminary teachers?
Answer: No. Seminary teachers who teach as a calling only teach one class a day, not full-time, so local Stake Presidents decide who should have these callings.
Question: Are these policies available online?
Answer: We do not publicize our policies but we explain them when we train potential teachers and when someone like you calls and asks about them.
At the end of our conversation, the CES manager changed things up a bit and asked me a question:
Manager Question: How do you feel about this policy?
My Answer: Fortunately, I do not want to be a seminary teacher, but it still bothers me that CES discriminates against mothers. I am concerned about having my children educated by an institution that discriminates this way. My own husband has chronic illness, so I need to work, and I know many other women who have situations like my own. I wish that CES would change its policy.