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myHR: August 22, 2018

Penn’s New Paid Parental Leave Policy

Smiling parents with a baby

Are you thinking about taking some time away from work when your family grows? If so, Penn is here to help with its new Paid Parental Leave Policy.

The policy, which goes into effect on September 1, provides a maximum of four weeks (20 work days) of paid parental leave to full-time faculty, and regular full-time and limited service staff following the birth or adoption of a child.

The leave is designed to give you the opportunity to spend time away from work during a pivotal period in your family’s life.

In order to be eligible for paid parental leave you must meet one of the following criteria within the last 12 months of the start of the leave: 

  • Have given birth to a child;
  • Be the partner or spouse of a woman who has given birth to a child;
  • Be the biological parent, or spouse of the biological parent, of the child; or
  • Have adopted a child who is 17-years-old or younger. This provision does not apply to the adoption of a stepchild by a stepparent or the placement of a foster child.

Eligible faculty and staff must also: 

  • Have been employed with the University for at least 12 months (the 12 months do not need to be consecutive) and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the date the leave would begin;
  •  Be a full-time faculty or staff member employed by the University (post-docs, part-time and temporary employees are not eligible for this benefit).

If you and your partner or spouse work at the University at the time of the birth or adoption of a child, you are both eligible for paid parental leave.

You can use Paid Parental Leave with other Penn benefits such as Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) or Short Term Disability (STD). For example, if you give birth to a child you generally would use STD while you are disabled, and would use paid parental leave following the period of disability. You cannot receive STD benefits and paid parental leave benefits at the same time.

If you are not eligible for disability, but are eligible for FMLA and Paid Parental Leave you can substitute Paid Parental Leave for a portion of your FMLA for a maximum of 12 weeks of unpaid time (four weeks paid and eight weeks unpaid). 

Rest assured that if you choose to take paid parental leave you will maintain all Penn benefits during that time, the same way you would if you were taking any other paid leave such as vacation. 

For more information about how the Paid Parental Leave Policy coordinates with other Penn policies, review the Paid Parental Leave Policy. To request paid parental leave, fill out a Paid Parental Leave Request Form

You can also learn more about benefits and programs for all kinds of families at

Break Through and Communicate Effectively

Overhead view of office meetingToday it’s easy to send messages. In fact, we are surrounded by them. Yet truly effective communication remains a challenge, especially at work. Meaningful workplace communication can mean the difference between a productive, positive organization and an inefficient one. That’s why successful leaders and team members don’t leave communication to chance. 

Discover how leaders keep their coworkers motivated and informed at Effectively Communicating in the Workplace on September 5, 12:30–1:30pm.

At this free, one-hour workshop, an expert from Human Resources’ Staff and Labor Relations will share insights on the basics of clear communication and the role it plays in positive professional relationships. It begins with the power of listening.

Effectively Communicating in the Workplace also helps you understand how to break through misunderstandings so you can deliver your message with confidence. Learn how to overcome communication challenges by:

  • Knowing when to communicate face-to-face
  • Paying attention to non-verbal cues
  • Providing clear and complete information
  • Listening and asking questions
  • Avoiding inappropriate, distracting topics
  • Offering positive feedback

Register for Effectively Communicating in the Workplace and get ready to improve productivity and keep your team motivated.

Fall Mindfulness Opportunities

Leaf reflection on Kaskey Park greenhouse

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing your attention on the present moment. Research has shown that this proven tool for self-awareness and self-management can lead to overall wellbeing as well as better performance at work. Whether you’re curious about the basics of mindfulness or you are ready for deeper exploration, Penn offers two courses for you this fall: Mindfulness in the Workplace and Positive Momentum. Both courses are free to benefits-eligible faculty and staff.

Mindfulness in the Workplace
The University has partnered with the Penn Program for Mindfulness to offer an eight-week Mindfulness in the Workplace program September 26-November 14, 2018. This course introduces you to foundational mindfulness-based tools and teaches you how to apply them in real life situations to help reduce stress, increase focus and mental clarity, improve communication in relationships, lift your mood, and better manage difficult situations. The course consists of eight, two-hour weekly classes and a full-day mindfulness retreat. All class materials are provided, including homework handouts and audio recordings of guided meditation exercises for use at home.

Attendance at a one-hour Introduction to Mindfulness presentation, September 5 or 6 from noon to 1pm, is a prerequisite to enrolling in the Mindfulness in the Workplace course. Participants who complete the entire course will earn 60 Be in the Know Bonus Action Points.

Positive Momentum
Motivational teacher Jennifer Schelter returns to Penn with a new course, Positive Momentum. This four-session course will be held October 1, 8, 15 and 29 from 12:30pm to 1:45pm. Philadelphia Magazine has named Schelter “Best of Philly” multiple times for her outstanding mindfulness-based leadership and self-development instruction.

In Positive Momentum, you’ll learn how to decrease negative stress, judgement, and bias while increasing productivity and focus. Positive Momentum will create a welcoming space for you to connect with the Penn community as you develop your tool box for self-care, creativity, and moving forward.

Positive Momentum participants will earn 30 Be in the Know Bonus Action points.

Space is limited for Mindfulness in the Workplace and Positive Momentum, so register soon for the course that fits your goals.

For more wellness and personal development resources that support your emotional health and wellbeing, visit

Healthy Meals: 5 A Day Salad

colorful salad in a bowlWith so much produce in season now, it’s easy to meet the five-a-day vegetable goal with this colorful dish.

Find the recipe here.

Click here to send us your healthy recipes and tips.


Did You Know? Penn VIPs School Supply Drive Ends Soon

The Penn Volunteers in Public Service Annual Back-to-School Classroom Supply Drive ends August 23. Donations will be distributed to School District of Philadelphia students, after-school programs and local homeless shelters. Contact the Netter Center for drop-off points near you. Donations will be accepted at the Netter Center through Friday, August 24.