Parental Leave

A student anticipating the need for parental leave (e.g., maternity leave, paternity leave, or others) should discuss this with their thesis advisor or program director well in advance (about 4-5 months) of the anticipated leave. Parental leave must be approved by the program director and the Dean of the Graduate School. During the period of parental leave, completion of academic assignments (exams, written assignments, and any other academic requirements) and academic progress milestones may be postponed for up to 12 weeks.

Recognizing that students who give birth may need time before a child is born as well as time to recover from the birth and to care for their new babies, they will be allowed 8 weeks parental leave to be taken in any combination of pre-natal and post-natal time. During this leave, full-time student status will be maintained, i.e. health and housing benefits will continue and visa status will remain unchanged. A student who chooses to continue a leave beyond 8 weeks is entitled to up to 12 weeks. These additional 4 weeks will be taken from vacation time, followed by unpaid leave. During the unpaid leave, all benefits (health, housing, etc.) will be suspended. International students should be aware that their student status might be compromised by unpaid leave.

In the event that medical complications require more than an 8-week leave, students will be covered by the medical leave policy of the Graduate School.

Students on training grants or individual fellowships must abide by the leave policies of the institutional NRSA or individual fellowship. In the event that the amount of leave allowed by an external funding agency is less than what the Graduate School allows, the Graduate School will pay the stipend and health benefits of the student for the time not covered by the grant or fellowship, such that the student will receive the equivalent of 8 weeks paid leave.

Students who adopt a child will be entitled to the same 8-week parental leave described above for the birth of a child, to be taken in any combination of pre- and post-adoption time.

Non-birthing parents will be allowed 2 weeks of paid parental leave for either childbirth or adoption. The leave can be taken as needed either before or after the arrival of the child.

If a graduate student receives a stipend from a dissertation advisor, and if continuing the stipend for the period of the parental leave constitutes a hardship for the dissertation advisor, the dissertation advisor should discuss the possible limitations of continuing the student’s support during the period of the parental leave with the Dean of the Graduate School. The Graduate program may participate in working with the dissertation advisor in an effort to continue stipend support of the student.

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