Ask Benny: Flexible work lets mom be with her son

Dear Benny,
I’ve just given birth to a beautiful baby boy, and I feel strongly that my child will need my presence at home as he grows up. Is there any way I can be there for him once I have used up my paid time off and other leave options without having to give up my Penn job, which I love, completely?
—Another Proud Penn Parent

Dear Proud New Mom,
Once you return from Family Medical Leave, you and your supervisors might want to consider one of Penn’s flexible work options. It might be possible for you to work hours other than the traditional 9 to 5 or do some of your work from home.

Human Resources offers guidelines for each of these options and more, including part-time work, compressed work schedules, telecommunting from home and job-sharing. Keep in mind that this all depends on the nature of your work and your supervisor’s approval. You and your supervisor should take the time to familiarize yourselves with Penn’s flexible work option guidelines. Start by visiting the Flexible Work Options Guidelines on the Web at .edu/quality/worklife/flexoptions/default.asp. The “Staff Tool Kit” in the Full Training Manual on the site can help you figure out how to think about and develop a proposal for one of these arrangements. Or contact Quality of Worklife Programs Director Marilyn Kraut at or 215-898-0380.

Dear Benny,
Why did the University move to West Philadelphia?
—Recent Transplant

Dear New Arrival,
It needed more space than it had at 9th and Market streets. University Archivist Mark Frazier Lloyd informs me that within a decade of moving across the river in 1871, the University grew from four schools (College, Medicine, Law, Engineering) to seven (Dental Medicine, Wharton, Graduate Arts and Sciences), with an eighth (Veterinary Medicine) added in 1884.

Originally published on November 14, 2002