4.4 Family Leaves

This policy was last updated January 1, 2021. See the update history page for more information.

MIT provides three kinds of paid Family Leaves to benefits-eligible staff, and also to non-benefits eligible staff who are working in Massachusetts: Family Leaves are defined as:

  • Parental and Bonding Leave for new parents (Section 4.4.1) – up to a total of 12 weeks
    • For benefits-eligible staff, up to 20 days (4 weeks) of the 12 weeks may be paid under MIT’s Paid Parental Leave policy; up to 8 additional weeks may be paid as  Bonding Leave
    • For non-benefits eligible staff working in Massachusetts, up to 12 weeks of leave may be paid as  Bonding Leave 
  • Leave to care for a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition (Section 4.4.2)  – up to 12 weeks Effective July 1, 2021
    • Employees may use up to 40 hours of their accrued Sick Time to care for a Family Member with an illness (whether minor or serious, for a Family Member’s medical appointments, and certain other reasons). This ability to use Sick Time is available before and after July 1, 2021.
  • Leave related to Family Members currently or formerly in the Armed Forces (Section 4.4.3)
    • To handle Qualified Exigencies – up to 12 weeks
    • To care for a Covered Servicemember – up to 26 weeks

Each type of Family Leave is permitted for the specific time periods noted above. In addition, the total amount of time that an employee may take for any combination of Family Leaves, as well as for an employee’s leave for their own Serious Health Condition, is limited to 26 weeks in the aggregate over a Benefit Year. 

4.4.1 Parental Leave and Bonding Leave for New Parents

In addition to disability leave (maternity leave) for birth mothers (See Section 4.3), MIT provides paid and unpaid leaves to certain new parents as follows:

  1. MIT Paid Parental Leave of up to 20 working days (Section 4.4.1.1)
  2. Bonding Leave, consistent with the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act (PFMLA), for up to 12 weeks (Section 4.4.1.2)
  3. Unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act for the purpose of caring for a new child (Section 4.8); and
  4. Unpaid leave of up to 8 weeks under the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (Section 4.4.1.3)

The eligibility requirements for these leaves differ, as explained in the specific subsections. For birth mothers, MIT Paid Parental Leave and Bonding Leaves may immediately follow the employee’s disability/maternity leave.

4.4.1.1 MIT Paid Parental Leave

Eligibility

Benefits-eligible employees may take MIT Paid Parental Leave of up to 20 working days (160 hours for full-time staff members) under the MIT Paid Parental Leave policy, paid at 100% of the employee’s normal pay. The leave must be taken within the first 12 months after the:

  • Birth of a child
  • Adoption of a child under the age of 18 (or a child under the age of 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled), or
  • Placement of a child pursuant to a court order

To be eligible for MIT Paid Parental Leave, employees must be in a benefits-eligible status on the date of the birth, adoption, or placement of the child, and also on each day of the MIT Paid Parental Leave. (Note that Bonding Leave may be available for staff who were not in a benefits-eligible status at the time of birth, adoption, or placement, or who were not in benefits-eligible status on each day of the leave.) Employees are eligible for another MIT Paid Parental Leave if they have another child as long as that subsequent Leave begins at least six months after the last day of their prior MIT Paid Parental Leave. MIT's Paid Parental Leave must be taken before Bonding Leave paid at the State Formula Rate. Section 4.4.1.2, Bonding Leave.

MIT Paid Parental Leave is available to benefits-eligible employees in all payroll categories (including academic payrolls), except for faculty. Faculty members should refer to Policies & Procedures Section 7.5.2 Other Leaves for the Faculty and Section 7.5.3 Faculty Teaching Relief.

Domestic partners are entitled to MIT Paid Parental Leave in the same way as spouses, and parents who have a child by surrogacy are also entitled to MIT Paid Parental Leave. If two MIT employees are parents of the same child, both parents are eligible for up to 20 days of MIT Paid Parental Leave, which may be taken at the same or different times. Employees are eligible for another MIT Paid Parental Leave if they have another child as long as that subsequent Leave begins at least six months after the last day of their prior MIT Paid Parental Leave.

Benefits-eligible staff are entitled to MIT Paid Parental Leave regardless of the location of their work. See below regarding Coordination of Leaves if the employee is also covered by a state’s parental leave laws.

Procedural Requirements: Notification and Approval of MIT Paid Parental Leave

MIT Paid Parental Leave may be taken intermittently or continuously. Intermittent leave must be taken in increments of at least one full day and the schedule must be approved by the employee’s supervisor in advance.

Notification and Approval: Parents must notify their supervisors at least 30 days in advance for any MIT Paid Parental Leave (and for Bonding Leave), or, if not possible, as soon as practicable. For intermittent or recurring leaves (e.g., every Wednesday) only (that is, not for continuous parental leaves), supervisor approval is also required. Intermittent leave may be denied by the employee's supervisor only due to significant operational needs.

Human Resources approval: MIT Human Resources must approve all requests for MIT Paid Parental Leave—whether continuous or intermittent. Once the leave is approved by the department, the parent must send a form to our leave administration vendor Workpartners or to the Human Resources Office at Lincoln Laboratory (Lincoln HR). The parent must also supply the birth certificate or other evidence of the child’s birth, adoption, or placement, and any other documentation that may be requested.

For intermittent MIT Paid Parental Leaves, the parent may need to send multiple forms to their department and to Human Resources. Detail on the procedural requirements can be found on HR's Employee Leaves website.

Any leave request must be requested and adequately documented in a timely manner. Otherwise, the time may be unpaid, may be paid as Bonding Leave if it meets the requirements for this benefit, may be paid from the parent’s accrued vacation balance (if approved by the supervisor), or may otherwise be recouped.

Additional Information on Implementation of MIT Paid Parental Leave

Tracking of Time: The up to 20 days of MIT Paid Parental Leave are tracked in hours, and are pro-rated for part-time benefits-eligible staff; part-time status is determined by the employee’s regular schedule immediately before the first day of MIT Paid Parental Leave. Full-time salaried employees who work a standard, 5 day a week schedule are presumed to work 8 hours a day for purposes of tracking this leave; so, full-time staff members are entitled to 160 hours of MIT Paid Parental Leave. For employees who work an irregular schedule, MIT Paid Parental Leave is tracked based on the actual hours the employee otherwise would have worked on each day of leave.

Vacation and Sick Time Accrual: Vacation and Sick Time continue to accrue at the employee’s normal rate during MIT Paid Parental Leave.

Holidays, Special Holidays, and Emergency Closings during MIT Paid Parental Leave: Holidays and Special Holidays that fall within a period of MIT Paid Parental Leave are treated as holidays or special holidays and are not charged to the employee’s MIT Paid Parental Leave allotment. (Sec. 4.1.5 Holiday during Paid Leave; Sec. 5.9.2, Special Holiday Closings. However, employees on MIT Paid Parental Leave are not entitled to Emergency Closing or Early Release pay during their leave. Section 5.8.6, Emergency Closing and Early Release. 

Note that Holidays, Special Holidays, and Emergency Closings are not paid during Bonding Leaves.

Coordination with other leaves Leaves under MIT’s Paid Parental Leave, Bonding Leave, the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act all run concurrently with one another, and with any other leaves provided by state or federal law, to the extent of any overlap. Benefits-eligible employees working outside Massachusetts who are entitled to any parental or bonding leave under the laws of that other state will be paid the greater of the MIT Paid Parental Leave benefit or Bonding Leave (whichever is applicable) or their own state’s parental benefit.

Consultation: Employees should consult with our leave administration vendor Workpartners or with their Human Resources Officer for information regarding leave provisions for pregnancy, childbirth, family care, and adoption.

4.4.1.2 Bonding Leave

Eligibility

MIT benefits-eligible staff are entitled to Bonding Leave regardless of the location of their work. Benefits-eligible employees working outside of Massachusetts who are entitled to paid parental or bonding leave under the laws of that other state will be paid the greater of the PFMLA Bonding Leave or their own state’s parental benefit, but not both.

Non-benefits eligible staff are eligible for Bonding Leave if they work in Massachusetts. Non-benefits eligible staff working outside of Massachusetts are not eligible except in rare circumstances as described in HR's Overview of Employee Leaves.

The reasons for taking Bonding Leave are the same as for MIT Paid Parental Leave – birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child. Also, like MIT Paid Parental Leave, Bonding Leave must be taken during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, adoption, or placement.

Transition Rule in 2021: Eligible employees who took leave in calendar year 2020 to bond with a new child – whether as MIT’s Paid Parental Leave, vacation, personal time, or unpaid FMLA leave – may be eligible for up to 12 weeks of Bonding Leave at the State Formula Rate as of January 1, 2021. However, as with other employees, the Bonding Leave is no longer available after 12 months following the child’s birth, adoption, or placement.

Rate of Pay

Bonding Leave is paid at the State Formula Rate consistent with the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act. See details in HR's Overview of Employee Leaves . Bonding Leave is pro-rated for part-time staff.

Duration of Bonding Leave; Coordination with MIT Paid Parental Leave

Bonding Leave may be taken for up to 12 weeks. For benefits-eligible employees, MIT Paid Parental Leave must be taken before Bonding Leave. MIT Paid Parental and Bonding Leave do not have to be taken consecutively, however, any intermittent MIT Paid Parental Leave or Bonding Leave requires the supervisor’s approval. Intermittent MIT Paid Parental and Bonding Leave must be taken in increments of at least one full day.

MIT Paid Parental Leave and Bonding Leave run concurrently. This means that the 20 days of MIT Paid Parental Leave counts towards the 12 week limit of Bonding Leave. So a benefits-eligible employee may take up to 4 weeks of MIT Paid Parental Leave (paid at 100%) followed by 8 weeks of Bonding Leave (paid at the State Formula Rate). In addition, all parental leaves (whether paid under MIT’s Paid Parental Leave or under the State Formula Rate) fall under the overall limit of 26 weeks of paid leave within a Benefit Year.

Procedural Requirements: Notification and Approval

Notification and Approval: As with MIT Paid Parental Leave, parents must notify their supervisors at least 30 days in advance for any Bonding Leave, or, if not possible, as soon as practicable. For intermittent or recurring Bonding Leaves (e.g., every Wednesday) only (that is, not for continuous Bonding Leave leaves), supervisor approval is also required. Intermittent leave may be denied by the employee’s supervisor only due to significant operational needs.

For intermittent Bonding Leave, the parent may need to send multiple forms to their department and to Human Resources. Detail on the procedural requirements can be found on HR's Employee Leaves website.

Any leave request must be made and adequately documented in a timely manner. Otherwise, the time may be unpaid, may be paid as Bonding Leave if it meets the requirements for this benefit, may be paid from the parent’s accrued vacation balance (if approved by the supervisor), or may otherwise be recouped.

Additional Information on Implementation of Bonding Leave

Tracking of Time: The 12 weeks of Bonding Leave are tracked in hours, and are pro-rated for part-time benefits-eligible staff; part-time status is determined by the employee’s regular schedule immediately before the first day of the Bonding Leave. As with MIT Paid Parental Leave, full-time salaried employees who work a standard, five-day a week schedule are presumed to work eight hours a day for purposes of tracking this leave. For employees who work an irregular schedule, Bonding Leave is tracked based on the actual hours the employee otherwise would have worked on each day of leave.

Vacation and Sick Time Accrual: Vacation and sick time continue to accrue at the employee’s normal rate during Bonding Leave.

Holidays, Special Holidays and Emergency Closing during Bonding Leave: Employees on Bonding Leave (paid at the State Formula Rate) are not eligible for Holidays, Special Holidays, or Emergency Closings. See above for treatment of these days during MIT Paid Parental Leave.

Coordination with Other Leaves: As noted above, leaves under MIT Paid Parental Leave, Bonding Leave, the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act all run concurrently with one another, and with any other leaves provided by any state or federal law, to the extent of any overlap. Benefits-eligible employees working outside Massachusetts who are entitled to any parental or bonding leave under the laws of that other state will be paid the greater of the MIT Paid Parental Leave benefit or Bonding Leave (whichever is applicable) or their own state’s parental benefit.

 Consultation: Employees should consult with our leave administration vendor Workpartners or with their Human Resources Officer for information regarding Bonding Leaves.

4.4.1.3 Massachusetts Parental Leave Act

Under Massachusetts law, eligible new parents may take up to eight weeks of unpaid leave for the same reasons as set forth above: birth of a child, adoption of a child under the age of eighteen (or a child under the age of twenty-three if the child is mentally or physically disabled), or the placement of a child pursuant to a court order. This time runs concurrently with any leaves for maternity leave, parental leave, and bonding leave to the extent permissible under state and federal law.

Employees are eligible for unpaid leave under this law if they have been employed for at least 3 consecutive months in a benefits-eligible capacity and if they provide MIT with at least 2 weeks of notice of the need for leave.

Massachusetts law provides the eight weeks of unpaid leave per child (e.g., 16 weeks for twins.) However, if both parents work for MIT, only eight weeks’ unpaid leave per child is granted to both parents. Domestic partners are entitled to this leave in the same way as spouses.

4.4.2 Family Member’s Illness

Most MIT employees are eligible for some paid leave to care for a Family Member’s medical needs:

  • Up to 40 hours per year from the employee’s accrued sick leave to care for a family member’s illness or attend their medical appointments
  • Up to 12 weeks of leave, paid at the State Formula Rate, to care for a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition (effective July 1, 2021).

Family Member: For the purposes of this section (and any other Family Leaves covered by the PFMLA), a Family Member is the spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, or parent of a spouse or domestic partner of the employee; a person who stood in loco parentis to the employee when the employee was a minor child; or a grandchild, grandparent, or sibling of the employee. 

4.4.2.1 Use of Accrued Sick Time for Family Member’s Illness and Medical Appointments

Benefits-eligible employees may use up to 40 hours of their accrued Sick Time per year to care for a Family Member’s medical needs. As with the use of Sick Time for the employee’s own illness, these may be for  minor or serious illnesses, or medical or dental appointments.

Non-benefits eligible employees may also use their sick leave accrued under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time law to care for a Family Member, in the same way that benefits-eligible employees can. Section 4.3.7 Sick Leave under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law.

For this subsection, the year is calculated based on the employee’s anniversary date. The 40 hours is pro-rated for part-time benefits-eligible staff.

Procedural Requirements: Notification and Approval

Where possible, employees must provide at least seven days’ notice when they intend to use accrued Sick Time for a Family Member’s minor illness or medical/dental appointments. MIT may request documentation of the Family Member’s illness or medical/dental appointments. Failure to provide timely and complete documentation may result in the reduction or denial of the paid leave and/or the recoupment of any previously paid amounts.

4.4.2.2 Leave for Family Member’s Serious Health Condition

Effective July 1, 2021, a benefits-eligible employee, or a non-benefits eligible employee working in Massachusetts, may use up to 12 weeks of leave to care for a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition as defined in Section 4.3.6. This leave is paid at the State Formula Rate.

For benefits-eligible employees, any use of their own accrued Sick Time to care for a Family Member with a Serious Health Condition counts towards the 12-week limit for this particular paid leave. For non-benefits eligible staff working in Massachusetts, any sick time accrued under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Time Law (Section 4.3.7) used to care for a Family Member (as defined by that statute) with a Serious Health Condition counts toward the 12-week limit for a Family Member’s Serious Health Condition.

Procedural Requirements: Notification and Approval

The employee must request any planned Family Leave under this subsection, and submit any requested documentation, at least 30 days in advance.  For unplanned Family Leaves, the employee must request the leave, and submit any requested documentation, as soon as practicable. For more information on how to apply for a Family Leave, and the documentation that will be required, please see HR's Employee Leaves website.

Failure to provide timely and complete documentation may result in the reduction or denial of the paid leave benefits and/or the recoupment of any previously paid amounts.

4.4.3 Family Member in the Armed Forces

All benefits-eligible employees, as well as non-benefits eligible employees who work in Massachusetts, are eligible for paid leaves to: (i) address Qualifying Exigencies; or (ii) care for a Family Member who is a Covered Servicemember. These leaves are paid at the State Formula Rate.  

4.4.3.1 Qualifying Exigencies

A Qualifying Exigency is a need arising out of a Family Member’s active duty or service (or notice of an impending call/order to active duty in the Armed Forces), including providing for care of the military member’s child or other family member, making financial or legal arrangements for the military member, and spending time with the military member during a rest and recuperation period or following return from deployment. 

An employee may take up to 12 weeks of leave for a Qualifying Exigency.

4.4.3.2 Leave to Care for a Family Member Who is a Covered Servicemember

A Covered Servicemember is defined as:

  • A member of the Armed Forces (for this purpose, that means the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard) including a member of the National Guard or Reserves, and who is
    • Undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy;
    • Otherwise in outpatient status; or
    • Is otherwise on the temporary disability retired list for a serious injury or illness that was incurred by the member in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces, or a serious injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the member's active duty and was aggravated by service in the line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces; or
  • A former member of the Armed Forces, including a former member of the National Guard or Reserves, who is undergoing medical treatment, recuperation, or therapy for a serious injury or illness that was incurred by the member in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces, or a serious injury or illness that existed before the beginning of the member's active duty and was aggravated by service in line of duty on active duty in the Armed Forces and manifested before or after the member was discharged or released from service.

An employee may take up to 26 weeks of leave to care for a family member who is a Covered Servicemember.

4.4.3.3 Use of Leave

An employee may take leave for a Qualifying Exigency either continuously or intermittently. A leave to care for a Covered Servicemember may be taken intermittently only if medically necessary.

Intermittent Qualifying Exigency or Covered Servicemember leaves must be taken in increments of at least 15 minutes. Time is tracked and recorded in hours and is pro-rated for part-time staff. Full-time salaried staff are assumed to work a 40-hour work week

As with all leaves covered by the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Act, the total time for PFMLA leaves is 26 weeks in a Benefit Year.

4.4.3.4 Procedural Requirements: Notification and Approval

Whenever possible, an employee must provide at least 30 days of advance notice to their supervisor when seeking Qualifying Exigency leave or leave to care for a Family Member who is a Covered Servicemember. If 30 days of advance notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice as soon as practicable.

The employee must also provide appropriate documentation to the DSMLO of the Qualifying Exigency or medical issue(s) requiring care.

Failure to provide timely and complete documentation may result in the reduction or denial of the paid leave benefit and/or the recoupment of any previously paid amounts.

4.4.4 Additional Provisions for Family Leaves Covered by the PFMLA

Some of the family leaves provided by MIT are covered under the Paid Family and Medical Leave Act. Where the PFMLA applies, those family leaves are covered by the provisions on eligibility, total leave, counting leave, interplay with other types of leave or approved time off, non-retaliation, and appeal set forth in Section 4.3.6, Additional Provisions for Leaves Covered by the PFMLA. The provision on payments and permissible reductions for PFMLA family leaves is as follows:

Payments; Permissible Reductions: Whenever an employee is entitled to a Bonding Leave or Family Leave at the State Formula Rate, the weekly benefit amount will be reduced by the amount of wages or wage replacement benefits that an employee on PFMLA leave receives from (a) any government program or law, including unemployment or workers’ compensation benefits, other than for permanent partial disability incurred prior to the PFMLA leave claim; or (b) under any other state or federal temporary or permanent disability benefits law; or (c) a permanent disability policy or program offered by MIT. MIT will not seek to offset any amount against benefits owed to an employee except as specifically authorized by the PFMLA.

Overtime Calculations Hours paid as Bonding Leave (at the State Formula Rate) do not count towards the calculation of premium hours nor are they paid as premium hours.