What is the Parental Leave benefit?

The University will provide eligible employees with up to eight weeks of paid leave for a parent to care for their newborn child, newly adopted child, new foster child, or with a child newly placed in their legal custody.

Who is eligible?

This Parental Leave Policy covers all permanent full-time employees who have worked at Catholic University for at least 12 months, and worked 1,000 compensable hours.

Do the 12 months have to be consecutive?

No, they do not have to be consecutive, but they do have to be within the last seven years.

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 with 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 16 weeks of leave?

No. Eligible employees receive a maximum of 8 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 on June 1, 2020, and take 8 weeks of leave that continues through July 31, 2020. If I give birth to another baby one year later, can I postpone my Parental Leave until August of 2021 so that I can have the entire 8 weeks of leave?

Yes. You may take 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 8 weeks of leave if it has been more than 12 months since your last Parental Leave.

What 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 eight weeks of Parental Leave?

The maximum Parental Leave benefit for both parents who work at the University is a combined eight (8) weeks, taken within four months of the qualifying event, in a 12 month period.

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 eight 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 begins in July 2020, and it offers paid leave at a percentage of one’s wages, which is capped at $1,000 per week. 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.

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

No. Parental Leave must be taken on a continuous basis and cannot be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule.  If both parents are members of the community, they can develop a schedule with their supervisors where they are each out at different times continuously to the maximum benefit of eight (8) weeks.

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 eight (8) 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.