What is the Parental Leave benefit?

The purpose of parental leave is to give parents additional flexibility and time to bond with their child(ren), adjust to a new family situation, and balance their professional and work obligations. The University will provide eligible employees with up to twelve weeks of paid leave for a parent to care for their newborn child, newly adopted child, new foster child, or a child newly placed in their legal custody.

Who is eligible?

The Parental Leave Policy covers all permanent full-time non-faculty employees. There is no waiting period and parental leave may be taken immediately upon hire. However, an employee who takes parental leave during his or her Initial Review Period, as determined by the Office of Human Resources, will have the review period paused during the time period of the parental leave and restarted upon their return.

What if I am currently on parental leave when the policy goes into effect?

The policy is retroactive to qualifying events that occur within six months prior to the effective date of December 1, 2022. Thus, if an employee's parental leave under the prior policy of 8 weeks leave expired or is due to expire prior to the effective date, the employee would be entitled to an additional 4 weeks of leave to be scheduled in combination with the employee's supervisor and the Office of Human Resources.

Does this apply to faculty?

No. Please see the Faculty Handbook for leave policies and benefits as they apply to faculty members.

Could I take this leave to bond with an adopted or foster child?

Yes. The benefit is meant to give parents time to care for their newborn child, newly adopted child, new foster child, or a child newly placed in their custody.

I had a baby 3 months ago, can I take this leave?

Yes. As long as the Parental Leave is initiated within 4 months of the birth of placement of the child, you can take this leave. For further guidance on specific cases, consult with Human Resources.

I am pregnant with twins. Am I eligible for 24 weeks of leave?

No. Eligible employees receive a maximum of 12 weeks of Parental Leave in a rolling 12 month period, regardless of whether more than one birth, adoption or foster care placement or guardianship occurs within that time frame.

Let's say I give birth to a baby and take 12 weeks of leave. If I give birth to another baby less than one year later, can I postpone my Parental Leave a bit so that I can again have the entire 12 weeks of leave?

Yes. You may begin Parental Leave within 4 months of giving birth to a baby, or placement of a child in your care. You are eligible for a full 12 weeks of leave if it has been more than 12 months since you began your last Parental Leave.

If I don't use my Parental Leave, can I take it later?

Parental Leave must be initiated within 4 months of the birth or placement of a child.

My spouse and I both work at Catholic University. Are we both eligible for twelve weeks of Parental Leave?

Yes. If both parents are employed by the University, they may take the parental leave concurrently or at separate times, according to their preference.

Can I use Sick and Safe Leave to recover from the birth, then use Parental Leave?

Yes. Sick and Safe Leave should be used for the time needed to recover from childbirth. The University encourages use of Sick and Safe Leave for this purpose, though it is not required. Parental Leave would be available in its entirety after the conclusion of the use of Sick and Safe Leave.

Does this replace Federal FMLA?

No. Parental Leave works in conjunction with FMLA. Think of FMLA as an umbrella leave that protects an employee's job. FMLA does not require that the employee be paid while on leave. Employees who take job-protected FMLA, which is unpaid, frequently take paid University leave (Sick and Safe Leave, and Annual Leave) at the same time. In other words, employees take both University paid leave, and unpaid FMLA leave runs at the same time, or "concurrently." The new Parental Leave benefit simply adds twelve weeks of paid leave for eligible employees to use while they are concurrently on unpaid FMLA.

Do federal or University holidays count as part of the Parental Leave?

No. If a scheduled University holiday or a University closure falls within an eligible employee's Parental Leave period, the holidays/closures will not count as Parental Leave days.

Does this replace Universal Paid Leave?

Yes. The D.C. Universal Paid Leave Act is a benefit to D.C. workers funded by a special employer payroll tax, but provides a lesser benefit than the University's new Parental Leave. Given our status as a religious institution, we are exempt from participation in the D.C. program and are therefore able to develop a set of offerings that are tuned to the needs of our community.

Specifically, the DC benefit began in July 2020, and it offers paid leave at a percentage of one's wages, which is capped at much less than full pay. By offering Parental Leave directly to our employees, we are able to provide the benefit at 100% pay. Also, you apply for the benefit through the University and not the D.C. government.

May I take half of my leave immediately, and take the other half in six months?

By design, parental Leave should be taken on a continuous basis.  In certain circumstances, intermittent parental leave or a reduced schedule may benefit departments and supervisors as well as the employee.  Where this is the case, supervisors, in consultation with the Office of Human Resources, may work with the employee to determine a non-continuous approach.  For example, in the rae cases where both parents are employed at the university they may request a mutually-continuous schedule (i.e. one where they might alternate days out, but one or the other is out continuously until they have both exhausted their available leave) that meets the needs of their supervisors.

If I leave the employ of Catholic University before I was able to use my leave, will I be paid out for the unused Parental Leave?

No. An employee will not be paid for any unused Parental Leave upon the termination of the employee's employment.

Will I be penalized if I use all my Parental Leave, and then decide to terminate my employment?

Employees are asked to return to work in good faith for at least twelve (12) weeks upon completion of their leave, but will not be penalized if they do not return to work.

What is the process for taking this leave?

To request Parental Leave, an eligible employee must submit a Parental Leave Application to Employee Relations within the Office of Human Resources (HR-EmployeeRelations@CUA.EDU) at least 30 days in advance of the basis and requested dates of such leave.

Will my benefits remain during Parental Leave?

Yes, so long as any necessary contributions are made during leave.

I'm a supervisor, how does my department make up for the work not done while my team member is out on leave?

In support of this policy, departments that have a member out on Parental Leave are expected to absorb the efforts that have been provided by that employee as they would during any usual sick or vacation leave period. Supervisors who have a critical need to 'backfill' the employee's efforts may, with written divisional VP approvals to hire and to fund, hire a full-time, temporary employee to cover those efforts until the employee on Parental Leave returns to active duty.

If my co-workers take advantage of this leave, will I be required to take on extra hours and work when they are absent?

Employees need to notify their supervisors a full 30 days before taking this leave. We encourage all supervisors to plan out the workflow for the days when the new parent is out on leave so that the workload of the remaining employees is fair and equitable.