Parental Leave

Parental Leave provides a family leave of absence to bond with a child after birth, adoption, or foster care placement.


  • Administrative and Support staff in regular or term positions, full-time and part-time with no minimum hours, are eligible for Parental Leave.
  • Temporary staff are eligible for Parental Leave if they meet the Financial Eligibility Test. (Effective 1/1/21)
  • Unemployed Former Employees are eligible for Parental Leave if the leave begins within 26 weeks after separation of employment from the college and they met the Financial Eligibility Test at the time of their separation of employment. (Effective 1/1/21)
  • Financial Eligibility Test: Over the past 12 months, a temporary or former employee must have received total wages that are equal to or exceed 30 times the weekly benefit amount and are not less than $5,100.
  • All categories of staff will be referred to as “employees” in this policy.
  • In the event that both parents are employed at Williams, both are eligible to take Parental Leave.
  • For Faculty Parental Leave information, please see the Faculty Handbook.


  • Parental Leave provides a maximum of twelve weeks of leave to bond with a child, beginning at any time during the first twelve months after the child’s birth, adoption, or foster care placement.
  • Parental Leave may be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule with a prorated reduction in the employee’s leave allotment and prorated benefits, when the schedule is mutually agreed to by the College and employee.


  • For Administrative and Support staff, Parental Leave provides 100% of an employee’s base pay.
  • For Temporary and former employees, Parental Leave provides 80% of an employee’s average weekly wage up to a maximum benefit amount set by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (64% of the state average weekly wage). (Average weekly wage is determined by the employee’s average earnings in the last four completed calendar quarters immediately preceding the starting date of the leave.) The weekly benefit amount shall be reduced by the amount that an employee receives for that period from unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation.

Employee Cost

The college provides this leave benefit at no cost to the employee.

Waiting Period

Parental Leave has no waiting period for benefits.

Leave Requests

A request for a leave of absence should be made as soon as possible when an employee anticipates the need for leave. Employees should contact the leave administration vendor, Unum, to review options and initiate the leave.

Staff planning to take Parental Leave should discuss their leave plans with their supervisor.

  • Employees requesting leave should contact Unum via phone at 866-779-1054, Monday – Friday, 8am to 8pm, or through the website at to start a leave claim – be prepared to provide a doctor’s note for any related absence from work prior to filing your medical claim
  • Information on the process and documentation needed to file a claim can be found here

Benefits Continuation and Service

Most benefits will continue during the duration of the leave, including employer contributions toward insurance benefits. The employee portion of the insurance benefits shall continue to be remitted by the employee. However, paid vacation, sick, personal and holidays will not be earned during the period of the leave. Parental Leave is not regarded as a break in service.

Job Protection

A current employee who has taken Parental Leave shall, upon returning to employment at the end of the leave, be restored to the employee’s previous position or to an equivalent position, with the same status, pay, employment benefits, length-of-service credit and seniority as of the date of leave.  The college is not required to restore a temporary employee who was hired for a specific term or only to perform work on a discrete project if the employment term or project is over and the college would not otherwise have continued to employ the employee. The college is also not required to restore an employee if other employees of equal length of service credit and status in the same or equivalent positions have been laid off due to economic conditions or other changes in operating conditions affecting employment during the period of leave.

Upon reinstatement, having taken Parental Leave shall not affect an employee’s right to accrue vacation time, sick leave, bonuses, advancement, seniority, length-of-service credit, or other employment benefits, plans, or programs.

Non-Discrimination and Non-Retaliation

The college will not threaten to retaliate or actually retaliate by discharging, firing, suspending, expelling, disciplining, threatening, or in any other manner discriminating against an employee for utilizing the Parental Leave benefit.

Concurrent Policies and Laws

  • Parental Leave may be used in addition to Short-Term Disability Leave for a parent who gives birth. Giving birth is considered a medical condition covered by the Short-Term Disability Policy.
  • Employees are eligible for up to a total of 26 weeks of Short-Term Disability, Parental and Family Leave in a benefit year. A benefit year is defined as the period of 52 consecutive weeks beginning on the Sunday immediately preceding the first day that job-protected leave commences.
  • All presumptions shall be made in favor of the availability of leave and the payment of leave benefits. If your leave claim is denied by the leave administrator, you will have 180 days to appeal to them in writing. In your letter, you should include a specific explanation of why you disagree with the claim decision. All appeals are reviewed and evaluated by an independent team of claim professionals who are given access to all original claim information. Decisions to reverse or uphold the original claim decision, or to require additional investigation, are typically made within 45 days of the appeal. An eligible employee whose appeal to the plan administrator is denied may appeal to the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave pursuant to 458 CMR 2.07(6)(a), 458 CMR 2.14, and M.G.L. c. 175M, § 8(d).
  • Parental Leave shall run concurrently with leave taken under other applicable state and federal laws when the leave is for a qualifying reason under those acts.
  • Any ambiguities in this policy shall be interpreted in accordance with the Massachusetts Family and Medical Leave law, M.G.L. c. 175M, and its implementing regulations.