Parental Leave (Nine-Month Faculty)

The purpose of the parental leave benefit is to offer flexibility and enable faculty employees to care for and bond with a newborn or a newly adopted child, or attend necessary medical appointments prior to or after the arrival of a child.

This policy will run concurrently with Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave and serves as a supplement to the existing short-term disability leave policy, as applicable. This policy will be in effect for pregnancy, births, or adoptions occurring on or after June 1, 2024.


Eligible faculty must be employed with the university as a full-time faculty member for at least 12 months.

In addition, employees must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Are pregnant or have given birth to a child.
  • Be a spouse or committed partner of a person who has given birth to a child.
  • Have adopted a child age 17 or younger. The adoption of a new spouse’s child is excluded from this policy.
  • Have become a parent as the result of a surrogate birth.

Policy Benefits

Wilkes University will provide the following paid parental leave benefits to 9-month faculty members:

Birthing parent

The birthing parent will receive a 9 formula hour reduction in annual teaching load per academic year (June 1 – May 31). The faculty member will be relieved from all duties including instruction, advising and university service for the duration of their leave.


Generally, the load reduction for faculty members whose births are anticipated between June 1 – Dec. 1 should occur in the fall semester or equivalent, depending upon the program’s term length. The load reduction for faculty members whose births are anticipated between Dec. 2 – May 31 should occur in the spring term or equivalent, depending upon their program’s term length. Depending on the circumstances of the pregnancy and the time of birth related to the academic calendar, the loading reduction may take place before or after the actual birth. Faculty members with questions regarding the timing of the loading reduction should contact the Human Resources office to determine the term for relief.

Non-Birthing Parent, Adoption and Surrogacy

Depending on the circumstances, the non-birthing parent (including cases of adoption and surrogacy) will receive a 4-formula hour reduction of load to be taken either during the semester in which the birth occurs or the following semester.

In the case of adoption of a child where the faculty member is the primary caregiver, requests for a reduction beyond four formula hours will be considered by the department Chair and Dean.

Tenure Clock

Probationary faculty who are either the birthing parent or the primary caregiver in cases of adoption and surrogacy, may request a one academic year delay in their tenure clock. The faculty member will provide their department chair and dean with notice of the request for tenure clock extension in writing as early as is reasonable during the pregnancy or before the conclusion of the leave. A maximum of one extension will be granted during the probationary period.

Coordination with Other Policies

Paid parental leave taken under this policy will run concurrently with leave under the FMLA. Thus, any leave taken under this policy that falls under the definition of circumstances qualifying for leave due to the birth or placement of a child due to adoption, the leave will be counted toward the 12 weeks of available FMLA leave per a 12 month period. All other requirements and provisions under the FMLA will apply. Please refer to the Family and Medical Leave Policy for further guidance on the FMLA.

Family and Medical Leave Policy

For the duration of the faculty member’s loading reduction, Wilkes University will maintain regular pay and all benefits for which the faculty member would normally be entitled to if they were teaching a full course load.

Requests for Paid Parental Leave

The faculty member will provide their department chair, dean and the Human Resources department with written notice of the request for leave as early as is reasonable which shall be no later than 30 days prior to the proposed date of the leave. The faculty member must complete the necessary HR forms and provide all documentation as required by the HR department to substantiate the request. Once submitted, an individualized interactive process between the faculty member, department chair and dean will take place to finalize the details of the faculty members loading for the current or upcoming academic years. In all cases, this process will conclude no later than 2 weeks from the start of its inception.

Effective: June 1, 2024