The NSF recently announced some new policies concerning work-life balance. There seems to have been a publicity push about it on the part of the White House, as it made the regular news. The main changes seem to be adding flexibility to grant rules for new parents. Mostly pretty obvious stuff like letting people delay the use of their grant if they go on parental leave. Good ideas to be sure, but mostly just catching up to what they already should have been doing.
This reminded me of one of my favorite ideas I’ve heard for an NSF policy change which would help career-life balance. Currently the MSPRF postdoc policy reads:
Changes in the host institution will be approved only under extremely unusual and compelling circumstances… Securing a position at an institution other than the proposed host institution is not considered an “extremely unusual and compelling circumstance.”
The suggestion is to change this by adding the line:
Nonetheless, if the fellow has a partner who is unable to procure a job near the sponsoring institution, and both the fellow and their partner have job offers in other city, that will be considered compelling circumstances.