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Parental Leave

A two-week paid parental leave is available to eligible birth and adoptive parents and spouses during the first 12 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child. For complete eligibility and details on parental leave, as well as other policies referenced in the below examples, please review here:

Birth mothers who qualify for FMLA can use parental leave during the two-week short-term disability waiting period (the time that must pass before benefits are paid). Birth mothers who are enrolled in the base coverage only of enhanced short-term disability insurance (STDi) must use any accrued grandfathered sick time before they are eligible to receive STDi payments. Base coverage replaces 66 2/3% of up to $24,000 annual salary. See the short-term disability benefit page for more details.Click here to see the Understanding your Short-Term Disability Leave graphic.

See the examples below for more details. If you have questions, please contact Human Resources.

Parental Leave, Short-Term Disability and FMLA

Example 1: Anne, Birth of a Healthy Baby

The birth mother, Anne, is approved for an FMLA leave of absence and plans to take 8 weeks off work for a "healthy birth." Anne has the short-term disability buy-up option and files a claim with Unum.

Anne's Income:

  • For the first 2 weeks, Anne takes paid parental leave. Vanderbilt pays 100% of her income and the normal deductions are taken out of her paycheck.
  • For the next 6 weeks, Anne takes short-term disability under medical leave. Unum pays 66 2/3% of her salary. Anne is responsible for paying for her health insurance and other employee-paid benefits during this time (she is direct billed by Benefit Express).
  • Anne returns to work after week 8.

 Anne


Example 2: Janet, Birth of a Healthy Baby with Unpaid Leave

The birth mother, Janet, is approved for an FMLA leave of absence and plans to take 16 weeks off work for a "healthy birth." Janet has the short-term disability buy-up option and files a claim with Unum.

Janet's Income:

  • For the first 2 weeks, Janet takes paid parental leave. Vanderbilt pays 100% of her income and the normal deductions are taken out of her paycheck.
  • For the next 6 weeks, Janet takes short-term disability for medical leave. Unum pays 66 2/3% of her salary. Janet is responsible for paying for her health insurance and other employee-paid benefits during this time (she is direct billed by Benefit Express).
  • For the remaining time off, Janet uses her paid time off followed by unpaid leave.* During the period of unpaid leave, Janet is responsible for paying the employee portion of health insurance and other benefits (she is direct billed by Benefit Express).
  • Janet returns to work after 16 weeks.

Janet

 


Example 3: Susan, Birth with Complications

The birth mother, Susan, is approved for an FMLA leave of absence and plans to take 8 weeks off work. However, she has health complications and has to extend her leave to 12 weeks. Susan's doctor gives her documentation that she is considered disabled from the birth of her child. Susan has the short-term disability buy-up option and files a claim with Unum.

Susan's Income:

  • For the first 2 weeks, Susan takes paid parental leave. Vanderbilt pays 100% of her income and the normal deductions are taken out of her paycheck.
  • For the next 10 weeks, Susan takes short-term disability for medical leave. Unum pays 66 2/3% of her salary. Susan is responsible for paying for her health insurance and other employee-paid benefits during this time (she is direct billed by Benefit Express).
  • Susan returns to work after week 12.

Susan

 


Example 4: Martha, Birth of Healthy Baby with Grandfathered Sick Time

The birth mother, Martha, is approved for an FMLA leave of absence and plans to take 10 weeks off work for a "healthy birth." Martha has waived the buy-up portion of short-term disability coverage and is enrolled in only the short-term disability base coverage option. Martha also has 3 weeks of grandfathered sick time and files a claim with Unum.

Martha's Income:

  • For the first 3 weeks, Martha takes grandfathered sick time. Vanderbilt pays 100% of her income and the normal deductions are taken out of her paycheck.
    • In this example, Martha waived the short-term disability buy-up coverage and is required to use all of her remaining grandfathered sick time before receiving short-term disability benefit payments. 
  • For the next 5 weeks, Martha takes short-term disability under medical leave. Unum pays 66 2/3% of the first $24,000.00 of her salary. Martha is responsible for paying for her health insurance and other employee-paid benefits during this time (she is direct billed by Benefit Express).
    • In this example, if Martha had more than 8 weeks of grandfathered sick time, she would not receive short-term disability payments through Unum.  
  • For the remaining 2 weeks, Martha takes parental leave. Vanderbilt pays 100% of her income and the normal deductions are taken out of her paycheck.
  • Martha returns to work after week 10

Martha

 

Parental Leave and FMLA: Birth or Adoption of a Child

Example 1: Jamie

The father, Jamie, is approved for an FMLA leave of absence and plans to take 4 weeks off work for the birth or adoption of a child.

Jamie's Income:

  • For the first 2 weeks, Jamie takes paid parental leave. Vanderbilt pays 100% of his income and the normal deductions are taken out of his paycheck.
  • For the next 2 weeks, Jamie uses paid time off followed by unpaid leave (if needed). During the period of unpaid leave, Jamie is responsible for paying the employee portion of health insurance and other benefits (direct billed by Benefits Express).
  • Jamie returns to work after week 4.

Jamie

 

Parental Leave and FMLA: Adoption of a Child

Example 1: Alex

The adoptive parent, Alex, is approved for an FMLA leave of absence and plans to take 12 weeks off work.

Alex's Income:

  • For the first 2 weeks, Alex takes paid parental leave. Vanderbilt pays 100% of her income and the normal deductions are taken out of her paycheck.
  • For the remaining 10 weeks, Alex uses paid time off followed by unpaid leave (if needed). Since Alex isn't sick, there is no short-term disability involved. Alex is responsible for paying health insurance and other employee-paid benefits during the period of unpaid time off (direct billed by Benefit Express).
  • Alex returns to work after week 12.

Alex

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I get parental leave?
Paid parental leave is only available for approved Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leaves of absence. You will designate two weeks of your time off as Parental Leave.

How many weeks of parental leave do I get?
Parental leave is up to two weeks of paid leave. The paid parental leave must be taken over a continuous period and may not be taken at the same time as short-term disability leave.

What if I want more time off than just the paid parental leave?
You may use PTO, your grandfathered sick time, if available, or file for short-term disability for any additional time off.

Will I accrue time off during paid parental leave? What about unpaid leave?
You will still accrue PTO during parental leave for hours paid, up to 40 hours per week. You will not accrue time while on an unpaid leave of absence.

Can both parents take parental leave?
If both parents are Vanderbilt University employees, both can use parental leave. Note that if business needs are impacted, each parent may need to take parental leave at a different time.

How much parental leave will I get for the adoption of a child?
For each birth or adoption, an employee is allowed two weeks paid parental leave.

What if I have twins? Can I receive parental leave for each child?
If multiple births or adoptions occur at the same time, only one benefit is paid.