Parental Leave (Staff)

Wilkes University will provide up to six (6) weeks (35 hour per week employees receive 210 hours, 40 hour per week employees receive 240 hours) of paid parental leave to employees experiencing pregnancy or following the birth of an employee’s child or the placement of a child with an employee in connection with adoption.

The purpose of paid parental leave is to offer flexibility and enable the employee to care for and bond with a newborn or a newly adopted child, or to 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 January 1, 2024.


Eligible employees must meet the following criteria:

  • Have been employed with the university for at least 12 months.
  • Have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the date the leave would begin.
  • Temporary employees and interns are not eligible for this benefit.

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.

Amount, Time Frame and Duration of Paid Parental Leave

  • Eligible employees will receive a maximum of six (6) weeks of paid parental leave per pregnancy, birth, or adoption of a child/children. The fact that a multiple birth or adoption occurs (e.g., the birth of twins or adoption of siblings) does not increase the six (6) week total amount of paid parental leave granted for that event.
  • Note that this policy only provides a total of six (6) weeks of paid parental leave and employees may not exceed this amount per occurrence.
  • Each week of paid parental leave is compensated at 100 percent of the employee’s regular, straight-time weekly pay. Paid parental leave will be paid on a biweekly basis on regularly scheduled pay dates. Consistent with other policies, holiday pay is not included.
  • Approved paid parental leave may be taken in increments of at least one (1) hour at any time during pregnancy and/or during the 12-month period immediately following the birth or adoption of a child. Paid parental leave may not be used or extended beyond this 12-month time frame. Any unused paid parental leave will be forfeited at the end of the 12-month time frame.
  • The availability of six (6) weeks of paid parental leave will commence once the employee’s supervisor and Human Resources has been notified of the pregnancy and appropriate documentation has been completed. Parental leave time may be used for appointments leading up to the arrival of the child (e.g. ultrasounds) or both preceding or following the birth of the child in conjunction with any short-term disability leave/benefit provided to the employee for the employee’s own medical recovery.
  • Upon termination of the individual’s employment at the university, they will not be paid for any unused paid parental leave for which they were eligible.

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. In no case will the total amount of leave—whether paid or unpaid—granted to the employee under the FMLA exceed 12 weeks during the 12-month FMLA period. Please refer to the Family and Medical Leave Policy for further guidance on the FMLA.
  • When the paid parental leave (and any short-term disability leave for employees giving birth) is exhausted, the balance of FMLA leave (if applicable) will be compensated through employees’ accrued vacation and personal time. Upon exhaustion of accrued vacation and personal time, any remaining leave will be unpaid leave. Please refer to the Family and Medical Leave Policy for further guidance on the FMLA.
  • Wilkes University will maintain all benefits for employees during the paid parental leave period just as if they were taking any other university paid leave such as paid vacation leave or paid sick leave. Consistent with other policies, employees do not accrue regular personal, sick, or vacation leave time during paid parental leave.

Requests for Paid Parental Leave

  • The employee will provide their supervisor and the Human Resources department with notice of the request for leave at least 30 days prior to the proposed date of the leave (or if the leave was not foreseeable, as soon as possible). The employee must complete the necessary HR forms and provide all documentation as required by the HR department to substantiate the request.

Effective: 01/2024