Parental Leave Policy
Effective July 1, 2022, eligible full-time employees who have a child biologically, through adoption, or through foster care placement will be entitled to 12 weeks of Paid Parental Leave once every calendar year, for the purpose of bonding with a new child. Paid Parental Leave will run concurrently with all other statutory or contractual benefits, to the fullest extent allowed under the law.
To learn more about paid Parental Leave, contact Executive Director of Equity and Compliance, Catlin Wells via email at email@example.com, or review the full Paid Parental Leave Policy, below.
To learn more about resources available to employees who are parents or caregivers, visit the University's Policy on Pregnancy, Parenting, and Caregiving.
I. Purpose of Policy
This policy identifies benefits relating to Parental Leave for employees of Wentworth Institute of Technology (“University”) and provides procedures for exercising these benefits.
II. Scope of Policy and Eligibility
This policy applies to employees of the University. This policy applies only to Parental Leave, which is defined for the purposes of this policy as leave taken for the purpose of bonding with a new child following birth, adoption, or placement through foster care. Except as provided below, Parental Leave must be taken within twelve months of the birth, adoption, or placement of the child.
Employees may be eligible to take Parental Leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”), Massachusetts Paid Family Medical Leave Act (“PFML”), Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (“MPLA”) and/or Wentworth Institute of Technology Paid Parental Leave Policy, all as defined below. FMLA, MPLA, PFML and Paid Parental Leave will run concurrently to the fullest extent allowed under the law.
Employees may also be eligible to take medical leave related to pregnancy or childbirth. This may include leave under FMLA, PFML, and Wentworth Institute of Technology Short Term Disability policy. Giving birth is considered a medical condition covered by the Short-Term Disability Policy. While this policy covers only Parental Leave, further information on applicable medical leaves is available in the Wentworth Institute of Technology FMLA policy.
III. Available Parental Leave
a. Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
A federal law that provides eligible employees up to 12 work weeks of unpaid leave a year. All employees with twelve months of service, totaling at least 1,250 hours within the 12 months prior to the leave, are eligible for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a twelve-month period for bonding with a healthy child.
The FMLA Policy is embedded in the employee handbook. The Policy is also accessible online here.
b. Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (MPLA)
A Massachusetts law that provides eight (8) weeks of unpaid leave for the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption. Employees are eligible for unpaid leave under this law if they have been employed for at least three (3) consecutive months in a benefits-eligible capacity.
c. Paid Family Medical Leave (PFML)
A Massachusetts law that provides eligible employees with partially paid family and medical leave, including leave for bonding with a child. PFML is separate from both the federally mandated benefits offered by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and from leave benefits that may be offered by the University. Further information about PFML is available here: “Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Employee Guide”
Under PFML, an employee who has experienced a qualifying event is eligible for benefits, including partial wage replacement, if they meet the earning requirements established by law. To meet the earning requirements, an employee must have:
- Earned at least thirty times the weekly PMFL benefit amount that they are eligible to receive during a requested leave and
- Earned at least $5,700 dollars in the previous 12 calendar months.
d. Paid Parental Leave
Paid Parental Leave is a benefit offered by the University to eligible employees, which supplements PFML leave to provide eligible employees with a total of 12 weeks fully paid parental leave.
Full-time employees who have a child biologically, through adoption, or through foster care placement are eligible for up to 12 weeks of Paid Parental Leave once every calendar year and applies only to leave taken for the purpose of bonding with a new child.
Full-time employees include employees authorized by the Office of Employee Relations and Engagement to work 37.5 or more hours per week. Some regular full-time positions may be for the academic year only.
To be eligible for Paid Parental Leave, an employee must:
- meet all earning requirements for PFML, as established above;
- meet all FMLA requirements, as established above; and
- file a claim with the University benefits provider, if applicable, as stated below in section V(d)-Filing a PFML claim.
- Current employees who do not qualify as full time and former employees who have been separated from the University for 26 weeks or fewer may be eligible for benefits under PFML, but will not be eligible for benefits under the Paid Parental Leave policy.
- Paid Parental Leave runs concurrently with all statutory leaves, including, but not limited to, the FMLA, MPLA, and the PFML.
- Paid Parental Leave does not alter any existing benefits established in existing bargaining agreements.
- Paid Parental runs concurrently with any other leave benefits established in existing bargaining agreements.
IV. Summary of Paid Parental Leave Benefits:
a. Statutory Benefits
Employees eligible under PFML may take up to 12 weeks for the purpose of bonding with a new child. During this period, Eligible Employees receive a percentage of their salary, mandated by statute.
b. Paid Parental Leave Benefits
Employees eligible for Paid Parental Leave will receive their full compensation for up to 12 weeks of parental leave including compensation during the seven (7) day waiting period for PFML benefits.
For employees who are eligible for PFML, the University will supplement the statutory benefits by paying the difference between the compensation provided under PFML and the employee’s pre-leave compensation, including any benefits paid for by the University during times when the employee is not on leave. For employees who meet the eligibility requirements under FMLA and the statutory earning requirements under PFML, but are denied PFML benefits for any other reason, the University will provide 12 weeks of compensation.
c. Waiting Periods
There is a waiting period of seven (7) calendar days, beginning the first day of parental leave under the PFML. During this time, the University will provide compensation in an amount of the employee’s salary.
The PFML waiting period does not apply in situations where an employee immediately transitions from medical leave for pregnancy or recovery from childbirth to parental leave for the purpose of bonding with a child.
d. Consecutive, Intermittent, and Reduced Schedule Leaves
Leave may be taken consecutively, intermittently, or on a reduced schedule within the first twelve months following the birth of a child, adoption or foster care placement of a child of the eligible employee.
An intermittent leave entails the employee taking leave over separate, non-consecutive time periods rather than a single span of time. A reduced-schedule leave entails an employee working fewer than their usual number of hours per workweek or workday. Leave should generally be taken in increments of at least four (4) hours but may be taken in smaller increments on case-by-case basis, as necessary and appropriate and approved in writing in advance. For faculty, a reduced course load may be permitted as a form of reduced schedule leave.
V. Procedures for Coordinating Parental Leave
a. Advanced Notice of Leave
Where possible or practicable, employees should notify the Office of Employee Relations and Engagement of the intent to take Paid Parental leave at least 30 calendar days prior to the scheduled leave. Requests for leave may be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and should include:
- The employee’s name
- The name of the employee’s supervisor
- The intended start date for the leave
- The anticipated duration of the leave
- A summary of the employee’s general work schedule
- The purpose(s) of the leave
- A statement regarding whether the employee is a full time or part time employees.
Upon receipt of the request, the University may request additional documentation as applicable.
Employees who intend to take leave relating to childbirth or pregnancy-related conditions in addition to Paid Parental leave, should notify the Office of Employee Relations and Engagement accordingly.
b. Coordination of Leave:
Upon receipt of the leave request, a designated University administrator will set up a meeting with the employee to coordinate the details of the leave. Prior to this meeting, the employee may be asked to complete relevant paperwork including certifications necessary to apply for PFML and FMLA leave. During this meeting, the employee may ask questions relating to Parental Leave benefits.
c. Notification of Supervisors
The Office of Employee Relations and Engagement or designee will notify the employee’s supervisor of any intended leaves, including Parental Leave and medical leaves relating to pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions.
Supervisors should consult with the Office of Employee Relations and Engagement about staffing needs that may exist during a leave. It is the responsibility of the supervisor to arrange any temporary staffing that may be necessary to support continued operation during an employee’s leave.
d. Filing a PFML Benefits Claim
The University has elected to privately-insure PFML coverage through Lincoln Financial Group. Lincoln Financial is responsible for coordinating payment of any salary to which an employee is entitled under PFML.
In addition to notifying the University of a planned leave, employees seeking Paid Parental Leave must submit a claim to Lincoln Financial to apply for PFML benefits. Information about how to file a claim can be found in the “Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave” Employee Guide, provided by Lincoln Financial and available upon request from the Office of Employee Relations and Engagement or the Office of Institutional Equity.
e. Updated Notice of Leave
Changes to the anticipated date of leave or anticipated date of return from leave must be communicated to the Office of Employee Relations and Engagement as soon as possible. Changes must be communicated in writing to the Office of Employee Relations and Engagement, and may be submitted via email at email@example.com
f. Benefits During Leave:
Most benefits will continue during the duration of the leave, including employer contributions to insurance benefits. The employee portion of insurance benefits shall continue to be remitted by the employee. However, paid vacation, sick, personal and holidays will not be earned during the period of the leave. Parental Leave is not regarded as a break in service.
g. Returning from Leave
The anticipated date of return will be determined prior to the commencement of an employee’s leave. At least seven (7) business days prior to the scheduled return date, the Office of Employee Relations and Engagement will contact the employee via email with any information necessary to coordinate the employee’s return to work.
As established above, any changes to the anticipated date of return should be communicated in writing, via email, to the Office of Employee Relations and Engagement.
VI. Reasonable Accommodations and Supportive Measures
Under applicable law, participants in University programs and activities have a right to reasonable accommodations for conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth. The University also recognizes supportive measures beyond what is required by law as a privilege afforded to Wentworth students and employees.
For information about reasonable accommodations or supportive measures, consult the Wentworth Institute of Technology Policy on Pregnancy, Parenting and Caregiving or contact the Executive Director of Equity and Compliance, Catlin Wells.
Executive Director of Equity and Compliance/Title IX Coordinator
VII. Non-Discrimination and Anti-Retaliation Policies
The University is committed to providing a safe and respectful educational experience and work environment free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. This policy, including the rights and benefits identified herein, shall be applied equitably in a manner that is inclusive of people of all genders.
Wentworth prohibits retaliation against persons exercising their rights under this policy, including rights related to caregiving. Allegations of retaliation will be addressed pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Wentworth Institute of Technology Sexual Misconduct & Sex-based Discrimination Policy for Students and Employees.
Any person may report allegations of discrimination, including retaliation, using the online reporting form or by contacting the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator can be contacted in person, by telephone, email, or in person during regular business hours (Monday-Friday 8:15 AM to 4:45 PM):
Executive Director of Equity and Compliance/Title IX Coordinator
Additional rights or benefits may be available to employees under law and University policy. Nothing in this policy shall be read to contradict any rights established under state law, federal law, or any existing collective bargaining agreements.
Effective Date: 07/01/2022
Responsible Executive(s): Nicole Price and Melanie DeSantis
Last Reviewed: N/A Newly Created
Responsible Unit(s): Office of Institutional Equity and Employee Relations and Engagement
Last Revised: N/A Newly Created