Taking a Leave of Absence

Benefits-eligible employees have a variety of options for Leaves of Absence: (listed below).

Family and Medical Leave Workers’ Compensation
Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Unpaid Leaves
Short Term Disability Domestic Violence Leave
Military Leave Reasonable Accommodations

The Family and Medical Leave Act: FMLA provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to eligible employees if you have a serious health condition and are unable to perform the functions of your job, or if you need to care for a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent who has a serious health condition, or if you need time off for certain activities related to the active military deployment of a spouse, child or parent.

Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave: Beginning in 2021, Harvard University will offer all eligible employees paid family and medical leave. Harvard’s new paid family and medical leave benefits are modeled on the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law.

 Massachusetts Paid Medical Leave: Employees may take up to 20 weeks of paid Medical Leave in a benefit year due to the employee’s own serious health condition that incapacitates the employee from performing the essential functions of the employee’s job.

Massachusetts Paid Family Leave: Employees may take paid Family Leave for the following reasons beginning January 1, 2021:

  • Up to 12 weeks to bond with a child during the first 12 months after the child’s birth, adoption, or foster placement. (Note that with the new bonding policy, parents with new children in 2020 may be eligible for additional leave time in 2021.)
  • Up to 26 weeks to provide care to a family member who is a covered service member.
  • Up to 12 weeks because of any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a family member is on active duty or has been notified of an impending call or order to active duty in the Armed Forces.
  • Beginning July 1, 2021, employees may take up to 12 weeks of paid Family Leave to care for a family member with a serious health condition.

A detailed overview of the new benefits and summaries for each employee class can be found below.

Short Term Disability: Harvard’s Short Term Disability Benefit covers up to 26 weeks of disability during which you are unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your job due to injury or illness.

To request Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave (MA PFML), or Short Term Disability (STD), please contact Lincoln Financial Group (Lincoln), Harvard’s third-party administrator. Employees may contact Lincoln in one of several ways:

  • To file a leave request by phone, employees may call the Harvard-dedicated number at 1-844-600-3978. Intake is available 8AM – 10 PM EST, Monday – Friday.
  • To file a  leave request online, employees may go to MyLincolnPortal at www.mylincolnportal.com  
    and click on “Register for an account” under the “Log In” button. Instructions will be provided on the website
    throughout the leave submission process.

Military leave of absence: Harvard grants leaves of absence and extends reemployment rights to staff members who engage in military service, in accordance with applicable law. See here for details on Military Service. A pay supplement may also be available for employees called to military service. See the Staff Personnel Manual for additional information.

Workers’ Compensation: Workers’ Compensation is a state-mandated program that provides temporary income in the event you experience a work-related injury or illness that prevents you from performing your job. Harvard’s third-party administrator is PMA Companies (PMA).

Unpaid Leaves: Types of unpaid leaves include: Short Term Personal, Long Term Personal, Career Development and Government Service. All requests for unpaid leaves must be discussed with the supervisor/department head and local human resources officer. All conditions of the leave agreement must be established and agreed to in writing prior to the start of the leave.

Reasonable Accommodations: A reasonable accommodation is any change or adjustment to a job or work environment that permits a person with a disability to participate in the job application process, to perform the essential functions of a job, or to enjoy benefits and privileges of employment equal to those enjoyed by staff without disabilities. For example, a reasonable accommodation may include, but is not limited to: acquiring or modifying equipment or device, job restructuring, modified work schedules, etc.

Temporary Modification/Courtesy Requests: Modification requests are for individuals who self-identify as being at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19, per the CDC. Courtesy requests are for individuals who have a family or household member who identifies as being at increased risk for severe illness from COVD-19, per the CDC. To request a temporary modification or courtesy, please complete the Temporary COVID-19 Related Modification/Courtesy Request Form and provide medical documentation from a health care provider.

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