Human Resources Guidelines

HRG18 Paid Parental Leave for Faculty

Policy Status: 

Under Review

Policy Steward: 

Vice President for Human Resources



NOTE: The implementation of SIMBA requires the review of many University Human Resource Policies and Guidelines. After consultation with key constituencies, work has been underway to update, consolidate, and improve our policies and guidelines to better serve the Penn State community. However, please be aware that due to the volume of the impacted policies and guidelines, not all policies are currently updated to reflect changes which have been communicated; however, the policies will be updated soon and have appropriate and applicable effective dates listed. We appreciate your patience as we work through this review process. Any questions can be directed to HR Services at 814-865-1473 or submit an inquiry via WorkLion.



The University is committed to helping faculty balance the often conflicting demands of acclimating newly born or adopted children into the family with professional responsibilities. Toward this end, this guideline provides for paid parental leaves for Standing, Fixed-term I, and Fixed-term Multi-year faculty as well as release from teaching responsibilities for tenured and tenure-eligible faculty following the birth of a child or the placement of a child for adoption with the faculty member. It is the intent of this guideline to provide consistency throughout the University community in granting paid parental leaves (and workload accommodations) without limiting any flexibility held by faculty and administrative heads.


Paid parental leave for faculty is defined as the period of time a faculty member is relieved of all responsibilities while receiving full salary.

A leave with salary does not mean that the faculty member will be required to carry more than a normal load before or after the leave. A faculty member must not be required to "make up" for a paid leave.


The total amount of time off (with and without salary) available to faculty is dependent upon a variety of factors and is outlined in the policies referenced below. The intent of this guideline is to state the minimum amount of paid time off available to the faculty following the birth or adoption of a child in order to support the family needs of the faculty member.To retain as much flexibility as possible:

  • No maximum time limits are provided herein.
  • It is understood that a faculty member may wish to request a paid parental leave which is not as long as the minimum to which she or he is eligible.

For those faculty who accrue vacation time, personal holidays, or compensatory time off, such accrued paid time off is to be used as applicable rather than this guaranteed paid parental leave.

Leave Following The Birth of a Child: Upon request, a leave shall be granted following the birth of a child. During such leave, full salary shall be continued:

  • For at least two weeks within three months of the birth of the child by the faculty member's partner.
  • For at least six weeks immediately following the birth of the child by the faculty member. This guideline is to be used in arranging for a paid parental leave barring any unforeseen medical circumstances. This guideline does not address situations for which medical leave is required before the birth of a child if the woman faculty member cannot, for any medical reason, carry out her responsibilities, or situations that necessitate extended paid medical leave due to complications that may arise during or following the birth of a faculty member's child. Situations that require extended leave due to illness or disability are to be handled in the current collegial manner, by discussion and arrangement with the faculty member's administrative head.

Leave Following The Adoption of a Child: Upon request, a leave shall be granted following the placement of a child with the faculty member for adoption. During such leave, full salary shall be continued:

  • For at least six weeks immediately following the placement of the child with the faculty member.
  • If the adopting parents are both members of the faculty, they are eligible for a total combined paid parental leave of at least eight weeks.


In addition to the paid parental leave for female faculty members following the birth of a child, a tenured or tenure-eligible woman has the option to either take a leave of absence without pay or to be relieved of classroom and classroom-related teaching responsibilities at full pay during the semester of the birth. In special circumstances, depending perhaps on the timing of the birth, the semester free of teaching might follow the one in which the actual birth occurs.

Tenured or tenure-eligible faculty adopting a child will receive a semester free from teaching within a year of the adoption. If the adopting parents are both members of the faculty, they are eligible for a combined period of one semester free from teaching immediately following the placement of the child with the family.

Faculty members who have chosen to be relieved of teaching responsibilities at full pay are expected to pursue scholarly work, student advising, research and other professional service, including departmental and University service, as appropriate and in keeping with reasonable expectations for flexibility, for the period of the semester that does not involve paid leave.

Arranging teaching replacement throughout the semester is the responsibility of the department head or other appropriate academic administrator.

The University and its colleges expect that faculty members giving birth or adopting children will routinely use this benefit. Use of this benefit shall not adversely affect the faculty member's standing or salary in any manner. Moreover, use of this benefit does not restrict faculty members and their department heads from making further personalized arrangements as necessary and appropriate. The reduction in teaching is not meant to be made up at a later date.

The funding for the teaching reduction is provided by the college.


Any child care policy must allow for some flexibility in its implementation. Department heads and other unit administrators should bear this in mind when working out individual arrangements and should consult with their deans as appropriate. They must be familiar with the policies and options for faculty giving birth or adopting a child and need to ensure that this information is provided to all faculty members in the department. Those situations involving care for infant children not specifically addressed by this policy can be considered on an individual basis.

In order to make any needed administrative accommodations for a parental leave, a faculty member should make her or his request for parental leave as soon as the date of the anticipated birth or adoption is known. If a faculty member has any ideas about administrative accommodations for their parental leave, they should share them with their administrative head as soon as possible. In the event of an unknown adoption date, a faculty member should inform her or his administrative head of the possibility of needing to request a parental leave at short notice. Contingency plans can then be discussed.

Arrangements for parental leave are to be made between a faculty member and her or his administrative head and reported simultaneously to the Provost and to the Vice President for Human Resources. If the faculty member and the administrative head cannot reach a mutually satisfactory agreement regarding the paid leave, the advice and guidance of the Provost should be sought to resolve any disagreements on the issue.

In the interest of departmental harmony and avoidance of hard feelings toward the faculty member on parental leave, care should be taken in the distribution of the workload among the remaining members of the unit. The administrative head of the unit involved should consult, as soon as possible, with members of the unit about coverage of duties during the period of leave. While parental leave for faculty is not identical to sabbatical leave, the manner in which coverage of duties is distributed can be drawn from sabbatical leave examples. Creative solutions may be called for in small departments or when a very specialized course needs to be taught.

A faculty member in the tenure provisional period may apply for a staying of the tenure provisional period as described in AC23, Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations.Such an application is not in any way connected to these paid parental leave guidelines.


Other policies should also be referenced, especially:

HR16 - Leave of Absence Without Salary

AC23 - Promotion and Tenure Procedures and Regulations

HRG07 - Absence From Work Resulting From Pregnancy or Childbirth

HRG11 - Family and Medical Leave


Life Events Website

Date Approved: 

June 1, 2004

Date Published: 

June 1, 2004

Effective Date: 

June 1, 2004