Paid Parental Leave
Click on the topic headings below to expand the list of frequently asked questions.
General Paid Parental Leave Questions
How does Penn State define paid parental leave?
A period of paid parental leave of absence is for the purpose of bonding with a newborn or a newly adopted child under the age of 18. If the adoption involves a child who is incapable of self-care because of mental or physical disability, the age limit of 18 may be waived. Paid parental leave does not reduce an eligible staff member’s balance of time away from work, such as sick, vacation, personal, compensatory time, or holidays.
When does paid parental leave become available?
Paid parental leave is available to benefits-eligible staff for births and adoptions that take place on or after the policy’s effective date. The University will launch the Paid Parental Leave policy for all benefits-eligible staff on Wednesday, July 1, 2020. The Applied Research Lab (ARL) will be piloting this policy starting Saturday, February 1, 2020. Benefits-eligible staff who have 12 consecutive months of service prior to the effective date of the paid leave policy will be immediately eligible. Otherwise, benefits-eligible staff will be able to qualify for paid parental leave once they have completed their first 12 months of consecutive service.
How much paid parental leave is being offered by the University?
Benefits-eligible staff may receive four (4) weeks of paid parental leave. Paid parental leave is paid at 100 percent of the staff member’s salary at the time the leave begins; essentially, the benefit is salary continuation.
Is the University paying for this benefit?
Yes, Penn State will be paying for this benefit to those who qualify.
Who is eligible for paid parental leave?
All benefits-eligible Penn State staff after completing 12-months of consecutive service. Employees who are covered by collective bargaining agreements are subject to their terms and are not eligible for paid parental leave. Faculty should refer to HRG18 – Paid Parental Leave, for more information.
When does the new Paid Parental Leave policy go into effect?
This benefit is available to all University benefits-eligible staff effective Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
Why is the Applied Research Lab (ARL) piloting this policy?
ARL is piloting this policy beginning, Saturday, February 1, 2020, to assist the University in finalizing administrative procedures, evaluating expected utilization, identifying communication opportunities, etc., prior to going live for all benefits-eligible University staff on Wednesday, July 1, 2020.
Are eligible staff required to take the paid parental leave consecutively?
Yes, all four (4) weeks must be utilized consecutively within the first 90 days following the birth or adoption. No intermittent paid parental leave is permitted.
Is the amount of paid parental leave different for multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.), that occur at the same time?
No, multiple births or adoptions at the same time does not increase the length of paid parental leave provided.
How long after the birth or adoption of a child can I take paid parental leave?
All eligible staff will have 90 calendar days from the event to use paid parental leave. Unused leave will be forfeited.
Does the benefit apply to individuals who experience a stillborn or miscarriage?
The University has provisions in place for those who experience this type of loss, although paid parental leave does not apply. Staff would be eligible to use bereavement and sick time as well as FMLA (family medical leave act).
May I take paid parental leave if I or my child gets sick and/or may I use it for eldercare?
No, this leave is provided in order to bond with a newborn or a newly adopted child. Paid parental leave does not include time away from work if you are sick or for taking care of a sick child or elders. Click here for more information on leaves of absence.
Does this benefit apply to collective bargaining units?
No, employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement are subject to its terms and are not eligible for this benefit.
Is paid parental leave available on a reduced schedule basis if the employee wishes to work while taking leave?
No, paid parental leave is intended to remove a new parent from their normal work schedule to bond with their new child. This leave replaces four (4) weeks’ worth of regularly scheduled work within the first 90 days following the birth or adoption.
Is there a limitation on the number of paid parental leaves that may be taken in one year? Or during my career with the University?
Paid parental leave can be used once during a 12-month period from each event. There is no limit on the number of times eligible staff can access paid parental leave during their career at the University.
Paid Parental Leave Eligibility Questions
Who is an eligible employee?
Benefits-eligible staff who have worked for at least one continuous year (12 months) prior to the birth or adoption of a child.
I am a faculty member that accrues vacation time, am I eligible for paid parent leave?
If both parents work at the University, are both eligible for paid parental leave?
Yes, if each parent is an eligible staff member, each is entitled to take up to four (4) weeks of paid parental leave within the first 90 days following the birth or adoption of a child.
Is paid parental leave available for foster care?
Can eligible staff take paid parental leave again for the birth or adoption of another child later?
If I adopt my spouse’s child(ren), am I eligible for paid parental leave?
Can I take paid parental leave and then take time off using FMLA (family medical leave act) separately?
FMLA will run concurrently with the paid parental leave if the staff member qualifies for FMLA.
Do I have to be married to be eligible for this benefit?
Will the University pay parental leave retroactively?
Can an employee take parental leave intermittently?
Can a person donate their paid parental leave to another individual? Spouse? Partner?
Is there an age restriction on adopting a child(ren) that I would not be eligible to take paid parental leave?
Paid parental leave will cover newly adopted child(ren) under the age of 18. However, If the adoption involves a child who is incapable of self-care because of mental or physical disability, the age limit of 18 may be waived.
Am I eligible if I am a surrogate or donor?
No, the benefit is for bonding time with child/children for new or adoptive parents who will have legal custody.
What if I am on a Performance Improvement Plan? Am I still eligible for paid parental leave?
Questions about when you are out on Paid Parental Leave
When can an eligible staff member begin paid parental leave?
Paid parental leave may begin within 90 days after the event (birth or adoption) occurs.
Is there a limit to when the leave can be taken following the event?
Yes, leave must be taken within 90 days of the event.
Will my benefits continue while I am on paid parental leave?
Yes, benefits will continue while you are on leave, just as benefits would continue for any other paid leave of absence.
Do I still accrue vacation and sick leave while I’m out on leave?
Will paid parental leave be included in my regular paycheck or as a separate check?
Your leave will be included in your regular paycheck and is considered part of your ordinary income that will be reported on your annual Form W-2.
How does paid parental leave work with short-term disability?
The Human Resources Absence Management team will discuss this with each staff member based on their individual circumstances.
Are staff entitled to health care benefits during paid parental leave?
Can I take paid parental leave in partial day increments?
Before & After Paid Parental Leave Questions
Can I use leave before a birth or adoption of a child?
Paid parental leave is only used for the weeks after the event occurs.
If an eligible staff member does not use their entire paid parental leave by the end of the 90-day period, is the remaining time paid out or does it carry-over?
No, at the end of the 90-day period following the event, any remaining leave is not paid out, and it is not added to any future leave. In other words, any unused paid parental leave is forfeited.
Do staff need to provide documentation of the birth/adoption event?
Yes, for a birth, a family medical leave certification (if eligible) or a doctor’s note is required. For adoptions, a legal document of adoption is required.
Can I use paid parental leave for doctor appointments prior to the birth or adoption of a child?
No, you must use sick leave.
If I am adopting a child, and I need time out of the office for purposes of processing the adoption (e.g., travel); is that covered under paid parental leave?
No, paid parental leave eligibility begins at the time of placement in the home.
Will my employment status be affected if I take paid parental leave?
If I go on bedrest during pregnancy, what leave am I eligible to use?
Sick leave is recommended. Paid parental leave is for bonding with child/children after birth or adoption.
Are there consequences if an individual does not return to work after paid parental leave?
Will I need to pay back parental leave if I leave the University?
Do I need to exhaust my sick leave prior to taking advantage of this benefit?
Can someone take less than four (4) weeks, if they choose?
Eligible staff are encouraged to take advantage of four (4) consecutive weeks of paid parental leave, since intermittent leave is not permitted. If staff want to return to work prior to the expiration of their paid parental leave, the remainder of the four (4) weeks will be forfeited.