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
Maternity and Parental 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.

Forms required for your own serious health condition:

Forms required for your family member’s serious health condition:

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 modelled on the Massachusetts Paid Family and Medical Leave Law. The details of these new benefits are outlined in a cover letter and notification from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts concerning the Paid Family and Medical Leave Law.

Maternity Leave: Leave for birth mothers includes two weeks of pre-birth time, eight weeks of paid leave under short-term disability, four weeks of paid parental leave and one additional week that can be paid using accrued vacation or personal time, or taken unpaid.

Parental Leave: Leave for birth or adoptive parents includes up to four weeks of paid time off, to be taken within the 13 weeks following birth or placement for adoption.

Option 1: One week of leave paid at 100 percent of your current pay rate;
Option 2: Up to four weeks of leave paid according to the following service-related pay replacement schedule:

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.

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.