I. General Policy:
Rice University will provide paid parental leave (PPL) to benefits-eligible staff employees of the Rice community as they care for and bond with a newborn or newly adopted child. Benefits-eligible staff employees may apply for and receive PPL after the birth or adoption of a child, or the placement with them of a child for foster care when foster care is a requirement to adopt a child. PPL runs concurrently with Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), if available, and PPL is in addition to any paid time off or other leaves to which the staff member may be entitled.
This policy generally outlines the length of time, frequency, and compensation associated with PPL for staff employees. This policy is separate and distinct from the policies that govern parental leave for faculty.
II. Roles and Responsibilities:
Staff – Should communicate the intent to take PPL as soon as reasonably possible, but at least 30 days before the event. Staff should initiate the PPL in iO within 5 business days after a qualifying event. Additional paid or unpaid leave beyond PPL must be coordinated with the supervisor and approved by Human Resources (HR). Staff should also provide documentation supporting the qualifying event.
Supervisor – Responsible for managing the workload while the employee is on leave. Supervisors are also responsible for coordinating with HR, their dean (if applicable), and Sponsored Research and Compliance (SPARC) to ensure that PPL is appropriately funded. Typically, these leaves of absence are paid from the funding source that pays the staff member’s salary. However, if a staff member’s salary is paid, in part or in full, by an external grant or sponsored research fund that does not pay for leaves of absence, the supervisor is responsible for coordinating with Finance and Administration to find an appropriate funding source to pay leaves of absence under this policy.
Human Resources (HR) – HR is responsible for establishing and maintaining the process for requesting PPL. It is also responsible for reviewing and approving or denying all PPL requests.
- Regular staff employee: Any employee who has an assignment in a regular or term-limited staff position.
- Temporary employee: An employee whose only assignment is a temporary position.
- Full-time employee: An employee who has a work schedule of 40 hours per week, 12 months per year (2,080 hours per year).
- Part-time employee: An employee who has a work schedule of fewer than 40 hours per week or fewer
than 12 months per year.
- Benefits-eligible staff employee: A staff employee whose position(s) requires 20 or more hours per week
and at least 1,000 hours each year, and who is eligible for Rice’s fringe benefits.
- Qualifying event: For purposes of this policy, a qualifying event is limited to the birth of a child
(whether personally or via surrogate), adoption of a child under the age of 18, or the placement with the
employee of a child for foster care if the employee intends to adopt the child.
IV. Elaboration of the Policy:
- To be eligible for PPL you must be a benefits-eligible, regular staff employee of Rice University for at least 6 months of continuous employment. Temporary employees are not eligible for the PPL benefit. Part-time employees qualify only if they are also a benefits-eligible staff employee.
- To receive PPL you must be eligible for PPL and either undergo one of the following qualifying events or have a spouse or registered domestic partner that undergoes one of the following qualifying events:
- The birth of your child (including through surrogates);
- Adopting a child under the age of 18; or
- Having a foster child placed in your home if you intend to adopt the child. This only applies when fostering the child is a requirement for adoption; any other placement of foster children does not apply.
- Note: PPL shall not be granted for the adoption of a stepchild by a stepparent.
- If both parents are employees of the University and meet the PPL eligibility requirements at the time of the qualifying event, both parents are eligible for the full PPL leave. These leaves can be taken concurrently or at different times, at the sole discretion of the parents.
B. Use of PPL and Coordination with Other Benefits
- Eligible staff employees will receive up to 6 weeks (240 hours for full-time employees, pro rata for part-
time employees based on FTE) of PPL in a rolling 12-month period, regardless of whether more than
one qualifying event occurs within that 12-month period.
- Multiple births or adoptions (e.g., the birth of twins or simultaneous adoption of siblings) constitute one
qualifying event and do not increase the total PPL granted for that qualifying event.
- When the employee fosters a child with the intent to adopt and the adoption is in the legal process, the
PPL may begin when point the child is placed with the eligible employee for adoption.
- Approved PPL may be taken at any time during the 12-month period immediately after the birth,
placement, or adoption of a child. PPL may not be used or extended beyond this 12-month period and
must be completed before the child’s first birthday (for a newborn child) or the first anniversary of the
placement or adoption.
- PPL may be taken continuously or intermittently. Intermittent leave requires advance approval by the
eligible staff employee’s supervisor.
- Intermittent PPL must be taken in increments of 2 weeks or more.
- An employee cannot receive short-term disability benefits and PPL benefits concurrently. If an
employee is eligible for short-term disability benefits after giving birth to a child, the employee should
complete the short-term disability before taking PPL.
- PPL runs concurrently with FMLA leave for any staff employees eligible for and using this leave.
- Employees on PPL are still subject to a reduction in force (RIF) or reassignment that would have
occurred if the employee had been working. If a RIF or reassignment renders the employee ineligible for
PPL while the employee is on PPL, then the employee may complete the previously approved PPL.
However, if the PPL is being used intermittently, a reassigned employee cannot use additional portions
of PPL once they return to work. PPL will end immediately if an employee is terminated for cause.
C. Use of PPL with Supplemental Appointments
If an employee is eligible for PPL under their staff appointment(s) and for parental leave under one or more supplemental faculty appointments, all these leaves must be applied for and taken concurrently. If the parental leaves are different lengths of time, the employee may be required to return to certain job functions after the shorter leave period expires. If the employee does not wish to do this, the employee may take unpaid leave until the longer leave period expires.
If the employee is eligible for PPL under one appointment (typically their primary appointment), but does not qualify for any form of parental leave under their other/supplemental appointments, the employee may still use PPL. Once approved for PPL, the employee will receive full pay for the appointment(s) that are eligible for PPL, and may, at the employee’s sole discretion, elect to work at their ineligible appointments during PPL or take unpaid leave from the ineligible appointments.
V. Cross Reference:
- 403. Benefits Eligibility
- 405. Paid Time Off
- 417. Family/Medical Leaves
- 423. Short-Term Disability Pay Continuation
VI. Responsible Official and Key Offices
Responsible Office: Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration
Other Key Offices: Human Resources
VII. Procedures and Forms
Reginald DesRoches, President
June 16, 2023