Lehigh HR, in collaboration with members of the Faculty and Staff Pride Network, Faculty Pride Council and the Pride Center, conducted a review of the university’s family-supporting benefits for staff and faculty. We are pleased to announce that, as a result, beginning July 1, 2022, Lehigh University staff are eligible for paid parental leave.
The new Staff Paid Parental Leave Policy offers partial or full compensated leave (depending on length of service) for six weeks in the 12 months following the birth or adoption of a child. It can be used in combination with other forms of leave, including short term disability for birthing parents and Family and Medical Leave.
In order to qualify for the paid parental leave benefit:
- A staff member must have been employed continuously for at least one year in a full-time benefits-eligible position (working at least 75% effort annually) as of the date of birth or finalized adoption, and
- Have given birth to a child on or after July 1, 2022; or
- Be the spouse/partner of an individual who has given birth to a child on or after July 1, 2022; or
- Be the biological parent or spouse/partner of the biological parent, in the case of surrogacy, of the child born on or after July 1, 2022; or
- Have adopted a child (who is age 17 or younger) on or after July 1, 2022.
Amount of Paid Leave Provided
Parents using the paid parental leave benefit will receive one of the following amounts:
- The staff member is eligible for 100% of their base salary for up to six (6) weeks under the policy if they have met or exceeded 5 years of continuous full-time benefits-eligible service with the University as of the date of birth or adoption.
- The staff member is eligible for 60% of their base salary for up to six (6) weeks under the policy if they have less than 5 years of continuous full-time benefits-eligible service (but greater than one year) with the University as of the date of birth or adoption. The staff member may choose to use their other available leave balances to supplement their pay up to 100% during this time.
Timeframe and Duration of the Leave
Parental leave may be taken at any time within the 12-month period immediately following the birth or adoption of the child. Paid parental leave may not be used or extended beyond this 12-month time frame and must be completed by the child’s first birthday or the one year anniversary of the finalization of the child’s adoption. Staff members must take parental leave in one continuous period and may not take the leave on an intermittent basis.
Frequently Asked Questions
Staff members who have been continuously employed for at least one year in a full-time benefits-eligible position (working at least 75% effort annually) as of the date of birth or finalized adoption are eligible for the PPL benefit.
Yes, birthing parents can and should still utilize their short term disability benefit. In the event of an uncomplicated birth, short term disability will be approved for either a 6- or 8-week period following the birth. Paid parental leave (PPL) will not run concurrently during the short term disability period. The birth parent will be able to choose if they would like to extend their leave beyond the 6- or 8-week STD period under the PPL benefit.
Example: a staff member gives birth to a child on August 1, 2022 and is approved for 6 weeks of short term disability, then chooses to extend their leave by an additional 6 weeks under PPL:
- 8/1/2022 through 9/11/2022 (6 weeks) = STD
- 9/12/2022 through 10/23/2022 (6 weeks) = PPL
- Total leave time = 12 weeks
FML will run concurrently with the PPL if the staff member has FML time available during that period. Under federal law, eligible employees who are taking time away from work within one year following the birth or adoption of a child are eligible for FML and such time must be designated as FML. Therefore, when a staff member takes PPL, the absence is a qualifying leave as defined under the Family and Medical Leave Act and will be designated as FML in addition to PPL.
If the staff member previously exhausted their FML entitlement earlier in the year, they are still eligible for PPL as long as all other eligibility criteria under the PPL policy is met.
No, PPL must be used in one continuous period.
PPL can be used at a later date, but must be taken within one year of the child's birth or adoption. The staff member's leave must conclude by the child's first birthday or the one year anniversary of the child's adoption.
Yes, staff members receiving 60% salary continuation under the PPL benefit and who have FML available to them can use any available leave balances (vacation, floating holiday and/or sick leave) to supplement their pay during this time. If the staff member has exhausted their FML entitlement prior to or during their PPL time, they may supplement their pay with any available vacation and/or floating holiday hours. Sick leave can only be used to supplement pay if the staff member also has FML available during the PPL period.
No, the benefit is based upon the staff member's eligibility as of the child's date of birth or adoption. If the staff member attains their fifth anniversary after the child's date of birth or adoption, they will qualify for 60% salary continuation under the PPL benefit and can choose to supplement their pay with available paid leave balances.
Yes, as long as both parents are eligible for this benefit as defined by the criteria in the policy (both work in benefits-eligible positions and have at least one year of continuous benefits-eligible service), then both parents are eligible for up to 6 weeks of PPL. They can take the leave simultaneously (meaning they are on leave at the same time as one another), or they can take PPL at different times within the 12 month period following the birth or adoption.
No, the benefit provides up to 6 weeks total of paid leave in a 12 month period regardless of the number of children born or adopted within that 12 month period.