Policy Manual

Paid Parental Leave

The University of Pennsylvania will provide up to a maximum of four (4) weeks of paid parental leave to eligible employees 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 enable the employee to care for and bond with a newborn or a newly adopted child. This policy will run concurrently with leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Faculty members, please refer to the section II.E.4 of the Faculty Handbook for additional details.

As is the case with all University policies, the University has the exclusive right to interpret or modify this policy.


Eligible employees must meet the following criteria:

  • 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 full-time staff member employed by the University (post-docs, part-time and temporary employees are not eligible for this benefit); and
  • If both parents are employees of the University at the time of the birth or adoption of the child, both parents are eligible for the paid parental leave.

In addition, employees must meet one of the following criteria within the last twelve (12) months:

  • Have given birth to a child;
  • Be the 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.

Finally, eligible employees must use the paid parental leave for the purpose of caring for or bonding with the newborn or newly adopted child.


Eligible employees will receive up to a maximum of four (4) weeks (20 work days) of paid parental leave per birth or adoption of a child.  In addition, in no case will an employee receive more than four (4) weeks of paid parental leave in a rolling 12-month period, regardless of whether more than one birth or adoption event occurs within that 12-month time frame.

The occurrence of a multiple birth or adoption (e.g., the birth of twins or adoption of siblings) does not increase the four-week total amount of paid parental leave granted for that event.

Each week of paid parental leave is compensated at 100% of a staff member’s regular base pay. For faculty receiving compensation from the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania (CPUP) or from other sources (such as administrative stipends), this means academic base salary only. Paid parental leave does not include compensation attributable to CPUP.  Paid parental leave will be paid on regularly scheduled pay dates (e.g., weekly or monthly).

Approved paid parental leave may be taken at any time 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 and must be completed before the child’s first birthday or the first anniversary of the adoption of the child. 

Employees must take paid parental leave in one continuous period of leave and must use all paid parental leave during the 12-month time frame indicated above. Paid parental leave cannot be used on an intermittent basis.  

Upon termination of the individual’s employment at the University, he or she will not be paid for any unused paid parental leave for which he or she was eligible.


Coordination with Short-Term Disability for the Birth Mother

An employee cannot receive short-term disability benefits and paid parental leave benefits at the same time.  If an employee is eligible for short-term disability benefits after giving birth to a child, she should complete the short-term disability and then may take paid parental leave.  

An employee cannot use paid parental leave during the 14-day waiting period before short-term disability benefits begin. As explained in the Short-Term Disability (STD) policy, available sick time and paid time off (PTO) must be used in that order. If there is no sick time or PTO available, then the 14-day waiting period will be unpaid.

Coordination with FMLA

The University’s Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) policy provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child for employees who have been employed for 12 months and have worked at least 1,250 hours in the year prior to requesting leave, provided the employee has not already exhausted his/her FMLA entitlement for the year.

Eligible employees can take paid parental leave during the first 12 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child (i.e., during what is typically the FMLA period if the employee has FMLA time available), or at any time within the first 12 months after the birth or adoption event.  If paid parental leave is taken while the employee is on approved FMLA leave for the birth or adoption of a child, then the paid parental leave will run concurrently with the FMLA leave.

For employees who wish to take paid parental leave during a time when it will not run concurrently with FMLA leave, arrangements for the timing of the paid parental leave must be requested and approved in advance by the employee’s immediate supervisor or department chair, similar to PTO. Supervisors are encouraged to be flexible in granting approval for paid parental leave requests taken after the first 12 weeks following the birth or adoption.

Eligible employees are strongly encouraged to plan in advance for when they expect to use paid parental leave, and communicate their plans to their immediate supervisor or department chair so they can do the necessary planning for their department’s work needs.

When an employee wishes to take paid parental leave concurrent with FMLA leave immediately following the birth or adoption of a child, the payments sequence shall be as follows, unless otherwise requested and approved in advance:

  • For an employee who has given birth to a child, the employee will receive short-term disability payments first, followed by paid parental leave.
  • For an employee who has not given birth to the child, the employee will use paid parental leave, followed by PTO, with the option of retaining a portion of his/her PTO balance in accordance with Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) policy. Any remaining FMLA leave will be unpaid.  

Coordination with Other Policies

The 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 sick leave or paid time off.

If a University holiday(s) occurs while the employee is on paid parental leave, such holiday(s) will not extend the total paid parental leave entitlement, and the employee will not receive additional holiday pay for the day.


To apply for paid parental leave, the employee must follow the steps outlined below:

  • Go to Workday "Time Off and Leave" application,
  • Click on "Request Leave of Absence,"
  • Enter the "First Day of Leave" and the "Estimated Last Day of Leave,"
  • Click on Leave Type "FMLA" and scroll down to "FMLA - Parental Leave," and
  • The employee will then be directed to download the appropriate forms from the Requesting a Leave of Absence webpage. Please note that the employee's request is not complete until the employee provides the FMLA Administrator with the required information.


University staff members covered by collective bargaining agreements should refer to the appropriate article in their contract.

Policy Number: 635
Effective Date: 09/01/2018
Last Reviewed Date:  07/01/2019
Supersedes Policy Number(s): 412
Applicability: Full-time Faculty; Regular Full-Time and Limited Service Staff
Cross-reference: Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) - Policy 631