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Parental Leave Guidelines

Following childbirth or adoption of a child, the primary care giver (female or male) is allowed to take 60 calendars days (equivalent to 8 work weeks) of parental leave with full stipend and continued health insurance coverage. This is in line with the NIH Grants Policy Statement. In the event of a graduate student wishing to extend the leave beyond this period she/he has the option of leave without pay, but can continue health insurance benefits by arranging with HR to continue payment of the employee contribution. Graduate student health insurance is purchased in academic year increments so they would not need to make extra payments for continued health insurance during an extended leave.

Kirschstein-NRSA trainees and fellows must provide advance notification to Vanderbilt University prior to taking parental leave.

Students are not employees and thus are not subject to the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Advance notice and approval

The student must request a parental leave from her or his departmental chair, through the Director of Graduate Studies, at least three months prior to the beginning of the anticipated leave or, in the case of adoption, as soon as the adoption is confirmed. The request must be made in writing and, once approved by the department chair and Director of Graduate Studies, forwarded to the school dean’s office for approval and notification of the Graduate School. Students should also make appropriate arrangements as needed with their course instructors to make up any missed coursework during the leave period.