Sample Policy: Paid Parental Leave

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Below is the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation’s parental leave policy. NCECF, a nonprofit in Raleigh, has four employees.

NCECF will provide paid parental leave to employees following the birth of an employee’s child or the placement of a child with an employee in connection with adoption. The purpose of paid parental leave is to enable the employee to care for and bond with a newborn or a newly adopted child. Flexible and family-friendly policies are essential to cultivating an atmosphere where employees can thrive professionally without sacrificing essential family obligations. This policy will be in effect for births and adoptions occurring on or after January 1, 2018.


Eligible employees must meet the following criteria:

  • Have been employed with the company for at least 12 months (the 12 months do not need to be consecutive).
  • Have worked at least 1,040 hours during the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the date the leave would begin.
  • Be a full- or part-time (20 hours per week or more), regular employee (temporary or intermittent employees and interns are not eligible for this benefit).

In addition, employees must meet one of the following criteria:

  • Have given birth to a child.
  • Be a spouse or committed partner of a woman who has given birth to a child.
  • Have adopted a child age 17 or younger. The adoption of a child by a new spouse is excluded from this policy.

Amount, Time Frame and Duration of Paid Parental Leave

  • NCECF provides 12 weeks of paid parental leave per year.
  • Eligible employees will receive a maximum of 12 weeks of paid parental leave per birth or adoption. The fact that a multiple birth or adoption occurs (e.g., the birth of twins or adoption of siblings) does not increase the 12-week total amount of paid parental leave granted for that event. In addition, in no case will an employee receive more than 12 weeks of paid parental leave in a rolling 12-month period, regardless of whether more than one birth or adoption occurs within that 12-month time frame.
  • Each week of paid parental leave is compensated at 100 percent of the employee’s regular, straight-time weekly pay. Paid parental leave will be paid on a biweekly basis on regularly scheduled pay dates.
  • Approved paid parental leave may be taken at any time during the six-month period immediately following the birth or adoption. Paid parental leave may not be used or extended beyond this six-month time frame.
  • Employees must take paid parental leave in one continuous period of leave and must use all paid parental leave during the six-month time frame indicated above. Any unused paid parental leave will be forfeited at the end of the six-month time frame.
  • Upon termination of the individual’s employment at the company, he or she will not be paid for any unused paid parental leave for which he or she was eligible.

Coordination with Other Policies

  • In no case will the total amount of leave—whether paid or unpaid—granted to the employee exceed 12 weeks. Available paid time off (PTO) cannot be used to extend leave. Employees are not required to exhaust PTO before taking paid leave.
  • NCECF will maintain all benefits for employees during the paid parental leave period just as if they were taking any other paid leave such as paid holidays or PTO. PTO will not accrue during paid leave.
  • If an organizational holiday occurs while the employee is on paid parental leave, such day will be charged to holiday pay; however, such holiday pay will not extend the total paid parental leave entitlement period.

Request for Paid Parental Leave

  • The employee will provide his or her supervisor with written notice of the request for leave at least 60 days prior to the proposed date of the leave (or if the leave was not foreseeable, as soon as possible). The employee must complete the necessary forms and provide all documentation as required by NCECF to substantiate the request.
  • The approval of the request for leave will be provided in writing by the employee’s supervisor within 15 days of the request.
  • As is the case with all company policies, the organization has the exclusive right to interpret this policy.

Please note that the information provided, while research-based, is not guaranteed for accuracy and legality. Please seek legal assistance, or assistance from state or federal governmental resources, to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. This information is for guidance, ideas, and assistance.