Childbearing/Childrearing and Adoption Leave

Bucknell University supports parents and families by providing paid and unpaid benefits to faculty and staff. Bucknell leave benefits – childbearing, adoption, childrearing and short-term disability – often run concurrent with Family Medical Leave. Approved FMLA leaves provide up to 12 weeks of job protection.


Federal Family & Medical Leave Act

In accordance with the Family and Medical leave Act of 1993 (FMLA), eligible faculty and staff members may request up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid, job-protected family and medical leave within each 12 month period for family leave. To be eligible for FMLA leave, a staff member must:

  • have been employed by Bucknell University for at least 12 months
  • have worked a minimum of 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding the beginning of the leave.

This program included leave for the birth or adoption of a child within one year of birth or adoption. During the Family and Medical Leave, health insurance benefits with employee cost share will be continued. The FMLA requires only that 12 weeks of combined leave be allowed for two parents who are both employed by the same employer in order to care for a new child. However Bucknell's policy is to allow one 12 week leave for each staff or faculty member within the 12 month "rolling" period. If both parents work for Bucknell and elect paid leave as described below the combined paid leave shall not exceed eight (8) weeks unless otherwise approved.

Please see the FMLA Policy for full details.

Parental Leave Policies

Given the cyclical nature of the faculty teaching schedule versus the nature of staff employment, policies differ for faculty and staff. Please see the section below that corresponds with your role at the University.

Paid Leave for Faculty: (Benefits-eligible FT & PT faculty only)

To request a Childbearing or Childrearing leave, please contact your Dean's Office or Chair as soon as is practical. In addition, please notify Human Resources about your upcoming leave.

Paid Leave for Staff: (Benefits-eligible FT & PT staff only)

Childbearing Leave:

After 1 Year of Employment:

Staff members may request up to twelve weeks of childbearing leave, up to six of those weeks may be paid leave. In accordance with the recommendations of their physicians an additional two weeks of paid leave time may be requested. This additional leave time is recorded as short-term disability leave and runs concurrent with unpaid FMLA leave, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

During The First Year of Employment:

Staff members may request up to four weeks of paid childbearing leave.

In compelling medical circumstances, the University provides income protection for up to 6 months for salaried staff members who are unable to return to active employment after the eight (8) weeks listed above.

As applicable staff members may also use their accrued sick leave or vacation time for the birth of a child. The Sick Time Transfer program may provide for additional sick time, should the staff member not have enough accrued sick time to cover the medical leave. Please see the Staff Handbook for details on this program.

Adoption Leave:

Staff members who adopt children may request up to four weeks of paid adoption leave within one year of the adoption. This time is recorded as short-term disability leave, and runs concurrent with unpaid FMLA leave, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

Childrearing Leave:

Staff members who are parents of newborn or newly adopted children who have not taken paid childbearing or adoption leaves may request up to two weeks of paid childrearing leave. This leave time is recorded as short-term disability leave, and runs concurrent with unpaid FMLA leave up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

Extended Parental Leave:

As applicable with supervisory approval, staff members may use accrued vacation to extend paid childbearing, adoption, and childrearing leaves. Such extended leaves run concurrent with unpaid FMLA leave, up to a maximum of 12 weeks.

Unpaid Leave for Staff:

Regular full-time and part-time benefits-eligible staff members who have had at least one year of continuous service may request a leave of absence without pay for compelling personal reasons. A written request must be submitted to the unit/division head and vice president with a copy to Human Resources. Evaluation of the request will be based on the staff member's and the University's needs. During the first three months of an unpaid leave of absence, benefits continue and paid time off accrues, however, holiday pay is not available.

Normally, approved leaves of absence are for not more than three months. Leave extensions may be granted in appropriate cases, depending on individual circumstances. Extensions must be requested in writing to the unit/division head and vice president with a copy to Human Resources. Leaves of absence may not extend beyond a maximum of 24 months from the original date of absence.

Requesting a Leave:

Eligible staff members should make the request for childbearing, childrearing, or adoption leave to their immediate supervisor. A copy of the request should be sent to Human Resources. Once approved the staff member will be notified by Human Resources.

For detailed information on the leave policies, please see the Staff Handbook.

Benefit Changes to Consider

You may want to add your new dependent(s) to the University's health, dental, and or vision insurance plan(s). You may want to revise your life insurance and/or retirement plan beneficiaries. You may want to change your participation in flexible spending accounts. The forms necessary for making these changes are below:

All benefit changes are required within 31 days of birth or receipt of a court document stating parental responsibility to avoid waiting until the next open enrollment period. Beneficiary changes can be made at any time throughout the year.

Local Child Care Resources/School Information

The University does not provide daycare services. The Living in the Susquehanna Valley web page has a list of local daycare providers, as well as local public and private schools.

Flexible Work Arrangements

Flextime is a term used to describe variable work hours that permit flexibility in starting and ending times within the workweek, and within limits set by the department head.

Bucknell University supports each department's decision to offer flexible scheduling to staff members, provided the schedule meets the needs of the department and the University, and does not violate the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Please see the Flextime Policy (pdf) for full details.

Family Adjustments and Emotional Support

Whether this is your first child, or one of many, changing family dynamics can be emotional and sometimes stressful. It can affect various family members in different ways. The Employee Assistance Program (EAP), through Health Advocate, is available to provide counseling on a wide-variety of topics, and is available to eligible employees, their spouses/spousal equivalents, dependent children, parents and parents-in-law. Simply call 866.799.2728 (toll-free) to talk to a counselor, or go to to access the Health Advocate website. The program is available 24/7.

Policy effective Nov. 1, 2015