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Maternity/Paternity Leave

August 14, 2008

NIH now grants recipients of certain training grants 8 weeks (60 days) of paid parental leave after the birth or adoption of a child.  In certain circumstances, at least.  Wait, I’ll quote you their policy so there’s no misunderstanding.

Trainees and fellows may receive stipends for up to 60 calendar days (equivalent to 8 work weeks) of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child when those in comparable training positions at the grantee organization have access to this level of paid leave for this purpose. Either parent is eligible for parental leave.

I find this really interesting.  On the one hand, it’s fabulous that they’re addressing this at all.  On the other hand, 8 weeks is a small amount of time (The Family and Medical Leave Act grants 12 weeks of unpaid leave for long-term employees of large institutions), and they’re clearly not breaking any new ground with their “comparable training positions” clause above.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie permalink
    August 26, 2009 12:41 am

    And it is getting even better…

    “NASA will grant maternity leave approved by the Advisor and NPP Center Representative, but the stipend will be suspended during this time. Also, THE FELLOW MUST PAY THE FULL INSURANCE PREMIUM WHILE ON MATERNITY LEAVE; i.e., NASA’s portion and the Fellow’s portion of the premium combined. The Fellow’s appointment will be extended by the number of days of approved maternity leave.”

    The fact that the advisor and NPP center representative have to approve the maternity leave opens the door to a situation where the postdoc’s contract can be terminated if the adviser is unhappy about the maternity leave situation. Thus as far as I see this is not an equal employment opportunity program. The program does comply with the FMLA, but also offers a context for pregnancy-based discrimination.

  2. Julie permalink
    August 25, 2009 11:57 pm

    I just learnt that postdocs in the NASA postdoctoral program (NPP managed by the Oak Ridge Associated Universities) cannot benefit from any paid MATERNITY leave, or ANY PAID SICK leave.

    Below are a few excerpts from the NASA Postdoc Policies and Procedures relevant to these points. In several occasions I have advertised the NPP program to brilliant female PhDs looking for a postdoc. In the future I will make sure they are aware of this limitation of the program.

    “When accepting the Terms of Appointment, a Fellow agrees that the receipt of stipend
    payments from ORAU shall not be construed as an employment relationship and that no
    employment-related benefits (such as paid vacations, sick pay, maternity leave, or
    unemployment compensation) are appropriate or applicable to the appointment. ”

    “Since Fellows are not employees, they do not accumulate annual leave (vacation) or
    sick leave. With the approval of the NPP Advisor and the NPP Center Representative,
    however, a Fellow may be excused from participation for brief periods due to illness,
    personal emergencies, or other unforeseen circumstances. NASA does not grant
    maternity leave with continuation of the stipend.”

    “In accordance with the Family Leave Act (FMLA), up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid
    maternity leave may be granted to a Fellow with approval from the Advisor and NPP
    Center Representative.”

    I am especially worried about this last point. Does this mean that if the advisor is unhappy with the pregnancy he can terminate the postdoc’s contract?

  3. September 12, 2008 2:40 pm

    Very interesting site, nice design, greetings 🙂

  4. cari c permalink
    August 19, 2008 10:37 am

    That is great, though – it is certainly better than the ZERO maternity leave we get at the Smithsonian (of course, other than our annual and sick leave we’ve accrued so much of…).

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