Beginning July 1, 2018, MIT enhanced its Paid Parental Leave policy to provide eligible new parents with up to 20 days of paid leave, which must be taken within 6 months following the birth, adoption, or placement of a child.

FAQs for New Parents

FAQs for New Parents

See frequently asked questions and answers below.

General FAQs

Can I start my MIT Maternity Leave prior to my baby’s birth?

No. MIT considers birth mothers to be disabled—that is, physically unable to work—during the initial post-partum recovery period. That is why birth mothers are eligible for up to 8 weeks of sick leave under the MIT Maternity Leave policy.

If you require sick leave due to pregnancy-related complications prior to your baby’s birth, contact the MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office (617.253.4572 or hr-dsmlo@mit.edu).

Do I receive 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave (FML) in addition to my MIT Maternity Leave and MIT Paid Parental Leave?

MIT Maternity Leave and MIT Paid Parental Leave count toward the 12 weeks of leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (see Personnel Policy Manual Sec. 4.5).

You may use your Paid Parental Leave at any time in the 6 months following the birth, adoption, or placement of your child. Therefore, you may use your Paid Parental Leave after exhausting your 12 weeks of Family Medical Leave.

I am pregnant with twins. Am I eligible for twice the amount of MIT Maternity Leave and MIT Paid Parental Leave?

No. Under MIT policy, eligible employees receive up to 8 weeks of Maternity Leave and up to 20 days of Paid Parental Leave per birth event—regardless of whether that birth event includes multiple births.

Under Massachusetts law, however, all new parents (birth mothers and those who did not give birth) of twins are eligible for up to 16 consecutive weeks of unpaid leave under the Massachusetts Parental Leave Act (MPLA). Keep in mind that Massachusetts Parental Leave runs concurrently with MIT Maternity Leave, and in many instances, also runs concurrently with MIT Paid Parental Leave.

Can I modify my work schedule during my Paid Parental Leave?

If approved by your manager or supervisor (see Important Action Steps for New Parents), you may use your 20 days of MIT Paid Parental Leave toward a modified work schedule during the 6 months following the birth, adoption, or placement of your child.

Support and service staff (paid weekly) may take Paid Parental Leave in hourly, daily, or weekly increments. For service staff employees, paid leave is provided to the extent stated in their collective bargaining agreement.

Administrative and sponsored research staff (paid twice monthly) may take Paid Parental Leave in daily or weekly increments.

My partner also works at MIT—can I donate my paid leave to him/her?

No. MIT paid leave is non-transferable. However, all eligible MIT employees receive up to 20 days of Paid Parental Leave (see MIT Paid Parental Leave for Employees: What does coverage include? for additional information).

If MIT is closed due to an Institute holiday during my previously scheduled Maternity Leave or Paid Parental Leave, does that holiday extend my Paid Leave?

  • MIT Maternity Leave: If you are a birth mother, you are eligible for up to 8 weeks of MIT Maternity Leave because you are considered disabled—that is, unable to work due to childbirth. Paid holidays (e.g., Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, etc.) do not extend the time birth mothers are considered disabled, and therefore do not extend the 8-week MIT Maternity Leave period. 
  • MIT Paid Parental Leave: If a holiday falls during the period of time you were planning to take your MIT Paid Parental Leave, you do not need to count that holiday toward your 20 days of MIT Paid Parental Leave.

If MIT is closed due to severe weather during my previously scheduled Maternity Leave or Paid Parental Leave, does that closure extend my Maternity Leave or Paid Parental Leave?

No. Previously scheduled MIT Maternity Leave or MIT Paid Parental Leave will count toward your total allotted leave time, even if MIT has an emergency closing due to severe weather at any time during your scheduled leave.

I am a new birth mother and support staff (paid weekly)—can I take my Paid Parental Leave before using Extended Sick Leave?

Yes. New birth mothers who are support staff (paid weekly) can use up to 20 days of MIT Paid Parental Leave before using Extended Sick Leave.

I gave birth prior to July 1, 2018. Can I take advantage of the enhanced MIT Paid Parental Leave policy? If so, do I need to complete additional paperwork?

The enhanced MIT Paid Parental Leave policy is effective July 1, 2018. If the birth, adoption, or placement of your child was prior to July 1, 2018, you may still take advantage of this enhancement, so long as the entirety of your leave (up to 20 days) is taken within 6 months of your child’s birth, adoption or placement. To take advantage of the enhanced Paid Parental Leave policy, you must also deliver the following paperwork to the MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office no later than 31 days after the first day of your Parental Leave:

  • Employee Leave of Absence Request Form: This form must be completed and delivered to the MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office, even if you have already done so for Paid Leave taken prior to July 1, 2018.
  • Proof of Birth, Adoption, or Placement: A copy of your child’s birth certificate, hospital birth paperwork, adoption paperwork, or placement paperwork must be delivered to the MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office, even if you have already provided it to MIT Benefits for healthcare purposes.

For example, Noel is a full-time, benefits-eligible employee, and he adopted a child on May 1, 2018. If Noel used his 5 days of MIT Paid Parental Leave in May (under the current policy), he may take an additional 15 days of MIT Paid Parental Leave (under the enhanced policy) between July 1, 2018, and October 31, 2018 (i.e., 6 months from the date of adoption), pending proper documentation (see above).

I was not employed by MIT for at least one year on the date of my child’s birth, and therefore was not eligible for MIT Paid Parental Leave at that time. I will, however, complete one year of employment at MIT within 6 months of my child’s birth. Can I use MIT Paid Parental Leave at that time?

Yes, you may take MIT Paid Parental Leave starting on the 1 year anniversary of your employment at MIT — so long as the entirety of your leave (up to 20 days) is taken within 6 months of your child’s birth, adoption or placement.

For example, Maya began her position as a full-time, benefits-eligible MIT employee on January 10, 2018, and her child was born on October 1, 2018. Maya is eligible to use MIT Paid Parental Leave starting on January 10, 2019 (i.e., her 1 year anniversary of employment at MIT) and ending on March 31, 2019 (i.e., 6 months after the birth of her child).

Eligibility FAQs

How does MIT define “birth mother”?

MIT defines a “birth mother” as a biological mother—that is, a woman who has undergone pregnancy and childbirth. Note: Surrogates are entitled to MIT Maternity Leave during the initial post-partum disability period, but not entitled to MIT Paid Parental Leave, as this form of leave is intended specifically for parental bonding.

Do I need to be married to be eligible for MIT Paid Parental Leave?

No. Marriage is not a prerequisite for MIT Paid Parental Leave eligibility. However, if you are not a birth mother, you must be a spouse, domestic partner, or the adoptive or foster parent to qualify for MIT Paid Parental Leave.

I am service staff. Do the MIT Maternity Leave and MIT Paid Parental Leave policies apply to me?

For service staff employees, paid leave is provided to the extent stated in their collective bargaining agreement. Therefore, the enhanced MIT Paid Parental Leave policy will be applicable only to the extent that it has been negotiated with your union.

I am a Postdoc. Do the MIT Maternity Leave and MIT Paid Parental Leave policies apply to me?

Visit New Parent Postdocs for information regarding paid leave policies for new parents as they relate to MIT Postdoc Associates and MIT Postdoc Fellows.

I am a Graduate Student. Do the MIT Maternity Leave and MIT Paid Parental Leave policies apply to me?

Visit Graduate Policies and Procedures for information regarding Childbirth Accommodation and Parental Leave.

Procedural FAQs

How will I be paid during my MIT Maternity Leave and MIT Paid Parental Leave?

Pending proper documentation (see Important Action Steps for New Parents), pay during leave will be provided via your regular paycheck.

How will I record my MIT Paid Parental Leave?

  • Support or Service Staff (paid weekly): You will record parental leave in hourly increments on your regular time sheet. For service staff employees, paid leave is provided to the extent stated in their collective bargaining agreement.
  • Administrative or Sponsored Research Staff (paid twice monthly): You will record your leave in daily increments via the MIT Leave of Absence Request Form. You can submit days of leave all on one form or on multiple forms.
  • Postdoc Associates (paid twice monthly): You will record your leave in daily increments via the MIT Leave of Absence Request Form. You can submit days of leave on one form or on multiple forms.

I already provided proof of my child’s birth/adoption/placement to MIT Benefits. Do I really need to submit the same information again to the MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office?

Yes. The MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office, which oversees MIT Paid Parental Leave, does not have access to the employee health forms maintained by MIT Benefits for medical coverage. This is to protect both confidentiality and employees’ medical information.

Will I still receive MIT Paid Parental Leave if I do not submit proper documentation 30 days after my leave is taken?

Procedural requirements cannot be waived, and any leave not reported 30 days after your first day of leave will be treated as unpaid, or may be paid from your accrued vacation balance. Parental Leave for employees is paid by the central Employee Benefits (EB) pool and not from departmental funds.

Have Questions?

Please contact the MIT Disabilities Services and Medical Leaves Office at 617.253.4572 or hr-dsmlo@mit.edu if you have questions regarding the information above.