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Parental Leave

Section 512

(Formerly Maternity Leave and Paternity Leave)


If you have been employed at the college for a minimum of 12 consecutive months in a regular position of half time or more, you are eligible for paid parental leave. If you work half time or more, you are eligible for prorated parental leave based on the number of hours you are regularly scheduled to work.

If you hold a limited-term position which exceeds three years, you are entitled to paid parental leave on the same terms and conditions as employees holding regular positions, provided the paid parental leave is taken prior to the end of your appointment or expiration of the grant.

If you have been employed at the college for less than 12 consecutive months, work less than half time, hold a limited-term position of from one to three years, or hold a temporary position, you are not eligible for paid parental leave. You may, however, qualify for unpaid parental leave. See the eligibility requirements in the section Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Male and female staff who are not eligible for a Family and Medical Leave of twelve weeks to care for their child, but who have completed their initial Orientation and Review Period at the College may be entitled to the benefits of the Massachusetts Maternity Leave Act (MMLA). MMLA grants employees up to 8 weeks of unpaid leave incident to the birth or adoption of a child under three years of age, provided that s/he provides required notice of the departure date and intention to return to work (Adoptive parents, see Adoption Leave policy). The College will continue to pay its share of the individual's benefit costs during such leave as long as the individual pays his/her share.

Up to five (5) days of earned sick time may be applied for this purpose.

Terms and Conditions

Parental leave is available for the birth of your child. If both you and your spouse are college employees, only one primary caregiver leave can be granted. You are eligible for paid leave only if you are returning to work for at least a three month period following the leave.

Primary Caregiver

An employee who takes primary responsibility for the care of a newborn child is eligible for twelve-weeks leave with normal pay for benefits during the period immediately following the birth. A primary caregiver should be that person who takes primary responsibility for the care of an infant the majority of the time. In order to exercise the primary care giver benefit, an employee must complete an Affidavit of Parental Leave stating that he or she is the primary person responsible for the child. This policy depends on, and assumes, the good faith of its participants. If at any time it is determined that any information in an Affidavit of Parental Leave is not true, or if leave circumstances change and you are no longer qualified for paid parental leave, all benefits will cease, and you will be responsible to repay the value of any wages or benefits derived. Salary continuation for parental leave is available only for the period of time you would normally be at work (i.e., if you work an academic-year schedule, you would not be eligible for paid parental leave during the summer).

Non-Primary Caregiver

An employee may apply for up to four weeks of paid parental leave at your normal weekly rate of pay. Leave benefits will be paid only for the periods in which the employee would otherwise have worked.

The College contributions to health, dental, life, and disability insurance in which the employee is enrolled will continue for 12 weeks to the extent provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act. In addition, retirement plan contributions will continue during any period of paid leave.

Application and Approval Process

You should notify your department head as soon as possible but no later than four months before the baby is due or as soon as an adoption is confirmed. You should then obtain from the Office of Human Resources the following (available on our Forms page):

  • Affidavit of Parental Leave
  • Attending Physician's Statement (if applicable)

Promptly complete the Affidavit of Parental Leave and submit it to the Office of Human Resources. Give the Attending Physician's Statement form to your doctor and request that s/he return the completed form to the Office of Human Resources as soon as possible. In the event you adopt a child age five or under into your immediate family, you are eligible for twelve weeks of paid adoption leave at your normal rate of pay beginning on the date the child enters your household. Employees who are adopting more than one child at one time may be entitled to extra leave time and should consult the Office of Human Resources for more information. To be eligible for paid leave, you must be the adopted child's primary caregiver as defined by the adoption agency.

After review of your application and the physician's statement (if applicable), the Office of Human Resources will send a notice to you and your department head confirming the expected dates of your parental leave and of your return to work.

Pre- or Post-Delivery Disability

Sick Leave (to the extent you have it available) will be granted if you are certified by your doctor to be medically disabled either before or after your Parental leave. See Application for Medical Leave under Sick Leave for Exempt/Administrative Staff or Nonexempt/Administrative Support Staff.

Additional Leave

Normally the maximum leave period is twelve weeks. Requests for additional time for medical or personal reasons will be considered on a case-by-case basis and depending on operational needs. For more information regarding unpaid leave options, see Family Leave and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Lactation Accommodation

Smith College promotes a respectful and healthy work environment for all employees. In response to the 2010 amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act, a regular employee may request time away from work to express breast milk following the birth of a child. Reasonable efforts will be made to provide a private room or other location in close proximity to the work area for this accommodation. Supervisors and/or Human Resources will ensure that employees are aware of these workplace accommodations prior to parental leave.

Smith College will provide a breastfeeding employee a private space where she can express milk at work if she does not have a private and sanitary space in her department. The private room will include an electrical outlet for the use of an electric breast pump and be situated near a convenient water source for washing hands and rinsing breast pump equipment. Departments are to ensure, to the extent reasonably possible, the availability of cold storage space. The employee may provide her own portable cold storage device or have access to a refrigerator located in the department or building.

The time needed to express milk is paid time if it occurs during work hours. The expectation is that the employee can express milk during break periods and during lunch breaks. If additional time is needed, supervisors are encouraged to grant reasonable flexible scheduling to accommodate the need.

There are two lactation rooms that are available for reservation to express milk during work hours.  Lilly Hall room B06, and Davis Hall room 203 are available through reservation with the Office of Human Resources.

For further inquiries, contact Human Resources at 413-585-2270.