4.6 Parental Leave

This policy was last updated July 1, 2018. See the update history page for more information.

Beginning July 1, 2018, MIT enhanced its Paid Parental Leave policy to provide eligible new parents with up to 20 days of paid leave, which must be taken within 6 months following the birth, adoption, or placement of a child.

In addition to paid sick leave for birth mothers, MIT provides three forms of parental leave that may be used by any new parent (including birth mothers):

  1. Paid Parental Leave of up to 20 working days (Section 4.6.1);
  2. Unpaid leave of up to 12 weeks under the Family and Medical Leave Act (Section 4.5); and
  3. Unpaid leave of up to 8 weeks under the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (Section 4.6.2)

Note that the eligibility requirements for these leaves differ, as explained in the specific subsections. For more information on sick leave for birth mothers, see Section 4.3.5, Sick Leave for Disability Associated with Pregnancy or Childbirth (maternity leave).

Leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act, and MIT’s paid sick leave related to pregnancy and childbirth all run concurrently. In many cases, the MIT Paid Parental Leave will also run concurrently with the Family and Medical Leave Act and Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (see Sec. 4.6.1).

Employees should consult with the MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office (617.253.4572 or hr-dsmlo@mit.edu) or with their Human Resources Officer for information regarding leave provisions for pregnancy, childbirth, family care and adoption, to ensure that they are aware of their rights under federal and state law as well as Institute leave programs.

4.6.1 Paid Parental Leave

Effective July 1, 2018, benefits eligible employees who have been employed at MIT for at least one year are eligible for up to 20 working days of Paid Parental Leave. As with the Massachusetts parental leave in Section 4.6.2, eligible new parents may take this Paid Parental Leave for the 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 Paid Parental Leave is available to 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. For service staff, this Paid Parental Leave is available only to the extent it has been negotiated with the employee’s union.

The 20 days of Paid Parental Leave must be taken within six months of the child’s birth, adoption, or placement with the employee. The leave may be taken consecutively or intermittently. For support staff, the leave may be taken in one hour increments and for exempt (salaried) staff, the leave may be taken in full-day increments. The 20 days are tracked in hours, and are pro-rated for part-time eligible staff; part-time status is determined as of the initial date of eligibility for Paid Parental Leave. An employee must be in benefits eligible status on each day of Paid Parental Leave.

Full-time employees who work a standard, 5 day a week schedule are presumed to work 8 hours a day for purposes of tracking this leave. For employees who work an irregular schedule, Paid Parental Leave is tracked based on the actual hours the employee otherwise would have worked on each day of leave. Holidays that fall within a Paid Parental Leave period are treated as holidays (Sec. 4.1.5; Sec. 4.1.9). Other Institute closings that fall during a Paid Parental Leave period are treated under the usual policies for those closings. See Sec. 5.9.2  regarding special holidays and Sec. 5.8.6 regarding emergency closings. 

When a parent takes Paid Parental Leave, that leave time will count toward the parent’s available leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (Sec. 4.5) and the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (Sec. 4.6.2).

Birth mothers may take Paid Parental Leave after their period of disability leave (maternity leave). If a birth mother is being paid on extended sick leave, she may substitute a day of Paid Parental Leave for one or more full days of extended sick leave; however, Paid Parental Leave cannot supplement extended sick leave payments. Domestic partners  are entitled to Paid Parental Leave in the same way as spouses, and parents who have a child by surrogacy are also entitled to Paid Parental Leave. If two MIT employees are parents of the same child, both are eligible for 20 days of Paid Parental Leave, which may be taken at the same or different times. Employees are eligible for another 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 Paid Parental Leave.

Procedural Requirements

Paid Parental Leave must be approved both by the parent’s supervisor or manager and by Human Resources.

Supervisor’s Approval: Parents must request Paid Parental Leave in advance, to the extent possible, from their manager or supervisor. Supervisors should accommodate the parent’s preferences on the timing of the leave consistent with local operational needs.

Human Resources Office approval: Once the leave is approved by the department, the parent must send a form to the Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office of campus Human Resources (DSO) 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 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 the MIT Paid Leave for New Parents website.

Any leave time not approved or adequately documented within 30 days of the time it is taken will not be treated as Paid Parental Leave. The time may be unpaid or may be paid from the parent’s accrued vacation balance. 

4.6.2 Massachusetts Parental Leave Act

Under Massachusetts law, eligible new parents may take up to eight weeks of unpaid leave for the 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. Employees are eligible for unpaid leave under this law if they have been employed for at least three consecutive months in a benefits eligible capacity and if they provide MIT with at least two weeks’ 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 total is granted to both parents. Domestic partners are entitled to this leave in the same way as spouses.