Approved by: The President
History: Issued              -- April 27, 2020
Revised            -- April 27, 2020
Last Reviewed -- April 27, 2020
Related Policies: 

Definition of Employment Status; Family and Medical Leave Policy; Leave Policy; Sick and Safe Leave Policy

Additional References: Frequently Asked Questions
Responsible Official: Associate Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, tel. (202) 319-5050

I. Policy Statement

The Catholic University of America (the “University”) is committed to helping employees support the needs of their families. In accordance with the terms and conditions of this Policy, the University will provide eligible employees with paid leave to care for their newborn child, newly adopted child, new foster care child, or with a child newly placed in their legal custody (hereinafter, “parental leave”).

II. Definitions

A. Adoption means legally and permanently assuming the responsibility of raising a child as one's own. 

B. Child means a child under the age of 12 months, or an individual under the age of 18 who is the newly adopted or foster care child of a parent or who is newly placed in the legal custody of a parent.

C. Foster Care means 24-hour care for a child in substitution for, and away from, a parent or guardian. Such placement is made by or with the agreement of the State (or the District of Columbia) as a result of a voluntary agreement between the parent or guardian that the child be removed from the home, or pursuant to a judicial determination of the necessity for foster care, and involves agreement between the State (or District of Columbia) and foster family that the foster family will take care of the child. Although foster care may be with relatives of the child, State (or District of Columbia) action is involved in the removal of the child from parental custody.

D. Parent means a biological, adoptive, step or foster parent of a child, or an individual who stands in loco parentis to the child.

III. Parental Leave Provisions

The following describes the coverage provided, eligibility requirements, and implementation details in support of the University’s parental leave policy:

A. Coverage


This policy covers all regular, full-time exempt and non-exempt employees.  Should the policy conflict with any provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for any Collective Bargaining Unit (CBU), the CBA shall prevail.  Bargaining unit employees should refer to the appropriate CBA for any applicable provisions.

This policy does not cover faculty appointments; individual faculty members should consult with the Provost’s Office or refer to the Faculty Handbook for any applicable policies.

B. Eligibility


Subject to the conditions listed in items 1-2 below, to be eligible for paid parental leave, an employee covered under this Policy must: (I) have completed at least 12 months of service with the University and have worked at the University for at least 1,000 compensable hours over the 12 month period preceding commencement of the parental leave (hereinafter, “eligible employees”).

1. 12 Months of Service


The “12 months of service” with the University need not be consecutive months, and time previously worked for the University may be used to meet the 12-month requirement. However, the University need not consider any period of previous employment occurring more than seven (7) years before the date of the employee’s most recent hire, unless the break is due to service covered by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), or there is a written agreement outlining the University’s intention to rehire the employee after the break in service.

2. Compensable Hours


All periods of time worked during the 12-month period preceding commencement of leave count for purposes of meeting the “1,000 compensable hours” requirement. Time taken for holidays, vacation, or leave is not considered work time except that an employee returning from his or her USERRA-covered service obligation shall be credited with the hours of service that would have been performed but for the period of absence due to or necessitated by USERRA-covered service.

C. Leave Benefit


Subject to the following conditions, independent of other University leave types, commencing May 1, 2020, an eligible employee may take up to eight (8) weeks of paid parental leave once in a 12 month period, at 100 percent of the employee’s current, straight-time weekly pay, to care for her or his newborn child, newly adopted child, new foster care child, or with a child newly placed in his or her legal custody.

1. Time Frames


Available for use once every 12 months within 4 months of qualifying event.

An eligible employee must take parental leave within 4 months following the birth of their newborn child, or within 4 months of when a child is placed in their adoptive care, foster care, or legal custody.  In the event that an eligible employee has given birth to a newborn child, parental leave will commence no earlier than after the conclusion of any paid sick leave provided to the employee for the employee’s own medical recovery following childbirth.

Parental leave availability is calculated on a “rolling” twelve (12) month period, measured from the date an eligible employee first uses the leave. That is, when an eligible employee takes parental leave, they may not use Parental Leave again until 12 months has passed from the date they previously started using Parental Leave. Note that the “rolling” 12-month period continues to run whether or not the eligible employee is working.

Parental Leave cannot be used prior to the birth or legal placement of a child for related medical issues or placement-related legal or court appointments.

2. Maximum Benefit


An eligible employee may take only one (1) 8-week parental leave in a 12 month period and the employee forfeits any such leave not used in that period. In no case will an eligible employee receive more than 8 weeks of parental leave in a rolling 12 month period, regardless of whether more than one birth, adoption or foster care placement or guardianship occurs within that time frame. Where two eligible employees are parents of the same child, the maximum parental leave benefit for both parents is a combined eight (8) weeks in a 12 month period. The eight (8) weeks per event should be divided between the parents during the application for the Parental Leave benefit, but may also be adjusted between parents during the leave period as needed to meet the parent’s specific needs.

3. Continuous leave


Parental leave must be taken on a continuous basis and cannot be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule.

D. Separation from Employment


An employee will not be paid for any unused parental leave upon the termination of the employee’s employment.

E. Process for Requesting Parental Leave


To request parental leave, an eligible employee must submit a Parental Leave Application to Employee Relations within the Office of Human Resources (HR-EmployeeRelations@CUA.EDU) at least 30 days in advance of the requested dates of such leave.

The University may require that an employee provide reasonable documentation to confirm the eligibility basis and dates for parental leave. Such documentation may include, but is not limited to, a health care provider’s certification of pregnancy, the child's birth certificate, hospital discharge papers (pending availability of a child’s birth certificate), certificate of adoption or foster care placement, order of custody, proof of parentage - biological or legal, and/or other appropriate documents, as applicable.

F. Maintenance of Benefits


The University will maintain all benefits for the eligible employee during the parental leave period on the same basis as coverage would have been provided had the employee been working during that time. The employee must continue to make any usual, required contributions to the cost of such benefits.

G. Coordination with other Leave, Holidays, and Closures


1. Paid Sick Leave and FMLA


As noted above, parental leave will commence no earlier than after the conclusion of any paid Sick and Safe leave provided to the eligible employee for the employee’s own medical recovery following childbirth.

Parental leave shall run concurrently with Federal and D.C. FMLA leave.

2. Scheduled Holidays or University Closures


If a scheduled holiday or closure falls within an eligible employee’s parental leave period, the day(s) will count as a holiday or closure (and not as parental leave).

H. Retroactivity


The Parental Leave policy goes into effect May 1, 2020.  It includes this provision for addressing qualifying events that have occurred between January 1, 2020 and May 1, 2020: If a benefit eligible employee had a qualifying event that occurred on or after January 1, 2020, and met the eligibility requirements as of the date of the event, the employee will be eligible for eight (8) weeks of Parental Leave, beginning June 1, 2020 and expiring twelve (8) months from the time of the qualifying event date.

I. Departmental Support


In support of this policy, departments that have a member out on parental leave are expected to absorb the workload that have been handled by that employee as they would during any usual sick or vacation leave period.  Supervisors who have a critical need to backfill the employee’s responsibilities may, with written divisional VP approval to hire and independent funding, hire a temporary employee to cover those responsibilities until the employee on parental leave returns to work.