Parental Leave Policy - Staff

Introduction

Policy Statement

The University is committed to supporting its staff with parental leave for eligible employees who temporarily relinquish their duties following childbirth or adoption, in a manner consistent with its educational mission and the effective operation of the University. This policy is designed to provide a reasonable and fair period of paid leave to such employees.

Applicability

This policy is applicable to all full-time and part-time benefit-eligible employees of the University, including those eligible employees who are in a domestic partner relationship in accordance with the University's domestic partner policy.

Leave Benefit

Except as otherwise provided below, the University will provide eight (8) consecutive weeks of paid parental leave to each birth mother or newly adoptive primary parent who is a full-time member of its staff and who temporarily relinquishes the duties of their position following childbirth or adoption. This parental leave will be provided immediately following the birth or adoption of a child, beginning at the time of arrival of the child and running consecutively, except in extraordinary circumstances (such as, but not limited to, medical complications for the mother or child) where other leave timing is approved by the Executive Director of Human Resources. In the case of adoption, eligible staff may take parental leave before the actual adoption of the child when approved by the Executive Director of Human Resources, for circumstances where the staff member needs to be away from professional responsibilities for the adoption to proceed (e.g., travel to another country to complete the adoption).

Note: This policy presumes that the birth mother or newly adoptive parent of a child will be the primary caregiver.

Eligible staff not assuming primary caregiver responsibilities for their newborn or newly adopted child are eligible for four weeks of paid parental leave to be taken within the first twelve months following the birth or adoption of a child. Time taken in this instance may be intermittent rather than consecutive.

For an eligible 9-, 10-, or 11-month schedule staff member, in the event of a childbirth or adoption occurring during the time in which a staff member is not normally scheduled to work (i.e., June, July, or August), this paid parental leave will only apply for any balance of the eight (8) weeks that the staff member would otherwise have been scheduled to work (i.e., if the employee gives birth or adopts two weeks before they are normally scheduled to work, they would receive six (6) weeks of paid parental leave beginning at the start of their normal schedule, but if the employee gives birth or adopts 10 weeks before the start of their normal schedule, they would not need the benefit of paid parental leave, as they would not otherwise be losing any salary during the eight (8) weeks following the birth or adoption).

Interplay between Parental Leave and Other Available Leaves

This policy is independent of the University's combined time off, sick-leave reserve, and short-term disability benefits. However, paid parental leave will not extend unpaid leave available under the University's Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) policy. Rather, such paid leave will run concurrently with any FMLA leave available under the circumstances, as designated by the Executive Director of Human Resources. Nothing in this policy precludes the eligible staff member from taking any remaining unpaid FMLA leave following the expiration of the University's paid parental leave, in accordance with the University's FMLA policy.

Requesting Parental Leave

Eligible staff must request parental leave in writing to their supervisor at least ninety (90) days in advance of the requested leave start date (or as early as possible in the planning phase of an adoption process). The Executive Director of Human Resources approves staff requests for parental leave.

All employees requesting parental leave must also complete the online Parental Leave Form and FMLA Request Form (https://my.wlu.edu/human-resources/fmla-extended-leaves-ada-and-workers-compensation/parental-leave) and make an appointment with the Manager of Employee Leaves at that time.