FAQs for New Parent Postdocs

Fellows | Associates

MIT enhanced its Paid Parental Leave policy effective July 1, 2018, and Human Resources has posted detailed information on the New Parent Postdoc page. MIT will provide up to 20 days of Paid Parental Leave to eligible new parents, including birthmothers, spouses, domestic partners, and parents through surrogacy, adoption or foster placement. To be eligible, a postdoc must have completed at least one year of MIT appointment as either a postdoctoral fellow or postdoctoral associate, regardless of his or her current title. The leave may be taken within 6 months following the birth of a baby, or adoption or placement of a child under 18. It may be taken consecutively, or intermittently in daily or weekly increments. In addition to these FAQs, review the information at the link above as well as Resources for New Parents.

Postdoctoral Fellows

In addition to the information below, see also the related checklist and forms for postdoctoral fellows.

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow, am I eligible for this paid parental leave benefit?

MIT strives to treat postdoctoral fellows and associates similarly, to the greatest extent possible. Some fellowships specify time off and other leave provisions. Many others do not. Postdoctoral fellows who anticipate taking Maternity Leave and/or Parental Leave should consult with the key administrative contact for postdocs (i.e., the HR Administrator or Administrative Officer) in their department, lab, or center.

Your key administrative contact will then work with the Office of the Vice President for Research (who will coordinate with the Research Administration Services) to review the terms of your fellowship and determine what, if any, sponsor notification is necessary. Your key contact will also provide details on reporting postdoctoral fellow leave at MIT. 

What if my fellowship is silent about parental leave? 

Your key administrative contact for postdocs will assist you in determining your eligibility and what procedures to follow.  MIT’s practice is for you to be eligible for the same period of parental leave. That period is up to 20 days for eligible new parents (including birthmothers, spouses, domestic partners, and parents through surrogacy, adoption or foster placement). Leave may be taken within 6 months following the birth, adoption, or placement of a child. It may be taken consecutively, or intermittently in daily or weekly increments. You must have completed at least one year of MIT appointment as a postdoctoral scholar (fellow and/or associate). This mirrors MIT’s one year of service requirement for this type of leave. During your leave, your source of funding would not change.

I am a Postdoctoral Fellow but also have a partial Postdoctoral Associate Appointment. Does that change my eligibility?

The provisions of your fellowship must first be reviewed to determine what, if any, sponsor notifications are necessary. Your key administrative contact will assist you in this review. The partial postdoctoral associate appointment does not affect your leave but does impact how you report your time away.  

What are additional requirements for fellows?

Postdoctoral fellows must submit any documentation required by their fellowship to the sponsor. They must also follow the steps outlined in the Postdoctoral Fellow Checklist for Maternity (Childbirth) Leave and/or Parental Leave. As specified, you will need to submit particular documents to your key administrative contact for postdocs (leave request form, documents showing the birth or placement of the child, and parental leave tracking form).

I am an international scholar; are there any special requirements in that case?

Please discuss your individual situation with an advisor in the International Scholars Office.

Do I need to be married to be eligible for Paid Maternity Leave and/or Paid Parental Leave?

No. Marriage is not prerequisite for paid leave eligibility.

I have a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from NIH. Am I eligible for this benefit?

  • Either Parent: According to NIH guidelines, “NRSA trainees and fellows may continue to receive stipends for up to 60 calendar days (8 work weeks) of parental leave per year for the adoption or birth of a child. Either or both parents are eligible for such leave, but the institution and/or the supervisor must be notified in advance according to organizational policies. The use of parental leave requires approval by the fellowship sponsor or the PD/PI of the training grant.”
  • Birth Mothers: According to NIH guidelines, “NRSA trainees and fellows may continue to receive stipends for up to 15 calendar days of sick leave per year.  Sick leave may be used for medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth.”

Given these provisions, the birth parent may be eligible for a combined total of up to 60 calendar days of parental leave per year plus up to 15 calendar days of sick leave per year.
See details at https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-18-154.html

Who should I talk with if I have questions about the provisions of my fellowship with regard to Paid Parental Leave?

Speak with your key administrative contact. Ann Skoczenski, Director of Postdoctoral Services, is also a resource for postdoctoral fellows. She can be reached at annskocz@mit.edu or at 617-324-9022. 

How do I add my new child to my health plan?

If you wish to add your child as a dependent on your health plan, follow that plan’s procedures and deadlines.  

If you are a postdoctoral fellow on the MIT Affiliate Extended Insurance Plan, see complete information at their website. A new child qualifies as a “life event” and allows you to make changes to your health plan. Within 30 days following the birth of your baby, you will need to go in person to the MIT Health Plans Office (E23-308) to fill out the enrollment forms and provide a copy of the baby’s birth certificate. In the case of adoption or placement of a child, follow the instructions for documentation. For questions about the MIT Affiliate Plan, visit the Health Plans Office in E23-308, call 617-253-4371, or email affplan@med.mit.edu.

If you are a postdoctoral fellow on another plan, contact Mandy Chan in Human Resources for further guidance [email: mchann@MIT.EDU; phone (617) 258-6215].

Postdoctoral Associates

How can I determine if I am eligible for Paid Parental Leave?

Postdoctoral associates are salaried by MIT, and therefore are considered benefits-eligible employees with a postdoctoral associate appointment of 50% or more. To qualify for Paid Parental Leave, you must have completed one year of service at MIT as either a postdoctoral associate or fellow. Look carefully at information on HR’s New Parent Postdoc page for detailed information on who qualifies for paid parental leave, when, and how. HR’s FAQs for New Parents provides additional guidance on this and other topics.

I have been a Postdoctoral Associate for 6 months and was a Postdoctoral Fellow for one year. What date is used as my eligibility date for this benefit?

The date to determine eligibility for the MIT Paid Parental Leave is the original postdoctoral appointment start date, as long as there has not been a break in service between appointments.

Do I need to be married to be eligible for Paid Maternity Leave and/or Paid Parental Leave?

No. Marriage is not prerequisite for paid leave eligibility.

I am an international scholar; are there any special requirements in that case?

Please discuss your individual situation with an advisor in the International Scholars Office.

As a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT, what benefits are available to me as a birth mother?

For benefits-eligible postdoctoral associates, MIT will grant birth mothers 8 weeks of paid maternity leave under its sick and extended sick leave program for childbirth and recovery. This is true even if you have not completed one year of service. For postdoctoral associates who have completed at least one year of MIT appointment as a postdoctoral scholar (fellow and/or associate), MIT Paid Parental Leave provides up to 4 additional weeks (20 working days). Other policies address unpaid leave options.

I am a Postdoctoral Associate; my partner is having a baby and I want to take time off to help and be with my newborn. What time am I entitled to take? 

A non-birth parent is eligible for up to 20 days of MIT Paid Parental Leave if they meet the eligibility requirements, including benefits-eligible status and one year of service.

What is the approval process for taking MIT’s Paid Parental Leave? 

Inquire about MIT’s paid Parental Leave or any other leave policies with the key administrative contact for postdocs in your area. The key contact can review your plan with you and help facilitate the process. For specific instructions for benefits-eligible postdoctoral associates, including required documents, see HR’s New Parent Postdoc page.

Any leave, whether MIT’s Paid Parental Leave, maternity leave, or vacation time, must be discussed with your supervisor and approved prior to taking leave. 

How will MIT’s Paid Parental Leave be tracked?

Paid Parental Leave for postdoctoral associates is tracked through MIT’s Disability Services Office. Maternity Leave for postdoctoral associates must be recorded via sick leave tracker. Parental Leave for postdoctoral associates will record leave in daily increments via the MIT Leave of Absence Request Form. They may submit days of leave on one form or on multiple forms. See details on HR’s New Parent Postdoc page.

How do I add my new child to my health plan?

If you wish to add your child as a dependent on your health plan, follow that plan’s procedures and deadlines. If you are a postdoctoral associate on one of MIT’s plans, see their information.