Michigan Tech understands the importance of accommodating the needs of a graduate student who becomes a caregiver of a new child or children that join(s) the student’s family through childbirth, adoption, or foster care. Furthermore, Michigan Tech respects the confidentiality of a graduate student’s caregiving responsibilities, and Michigan Tech will defer to the graduate student as to who is aware of the graduate student’s caregiving responsibilities and when those persons are informed.
The Graduate School Graduate Student Parental Leave Policy provides assistance to students during a pregnancy, postpartum, during an adoption process, or following a foster care placement. This policy makes it possible for students to receive time extensions for the completion of courses, exams, and other degree requirements (including the overall time to completion of the degree). This policy also makes it possible for students to be released from their teaching or research responsibilities for an excused absence period.
In some cases, the individual may need to take time off for health reasons or may be unable to perform teaching or research obligations after the excused absence period ends. Such students should consult with the Graduate School for the appropriate process; this may include a medical withdrawal, other withdrawal, or a leave of absence.
The Graduate Student Parental Leave Policy applies to graduate students who:
- Have new childcare or related responsibilities due to a recent or upcoming birth or placement of a child under eighteen years of age in the home for the purposes of adoption or foster care and
- Are enrolled at Michigan Tech.
- Any parent in a given household is eligible to apply for parental leave.
This policy does not apply to:
- Undergraduate students
- Graduate students who are not enrolled
- Students enrolled in non-degree seeking courses at the graduate level
Parental Leave Benefits
Graduate students who apply for and are granted a parental leave will receive both of the following benefits with the limitations as noted. The parental leave must be requested within the first year of birth, child placement or adoption.
Length of absence
- The primary caregiver may receive an excused absence up to six weeks (or eight weeks in the case of a birth by C-section).
- The secondary caregiver may receive up to two weeks for an excused absence.
The excused absence may begin up to four weeks prior to either a birth or placement of a child or children under eighteen years of age in the home for adoption or foster care. In the event of multiple births or placements for adoption or foster care that occur within a one-year time frame, the period of the combined excused absence remains at eighteen weeks total for the primary caregiver or six weeks for the secondary caregiver; this equates to receiving Parental Leave up to three times within a one-year time frame. Extension of the total parental leave excused absence time period will be considered in extenuating circumstances. During the excused absence period, the student will continue to be enrolled as a full-time student and will continue to pay tuition.
Students are expected to return full-time to their graduate responsibilities after the parental leave excused absence period ends. If the excused absence results in a student being unable to complete requirements for a course, the instructor of record will assign an incomplete grade (“I”) for the course. Student’s receiving “I” grades will need to work with the instructor of record for that course to identify a plan to complete all requirements for the course following the current policy and timeline for incomplete grades.
In the event of multiple births or placements in the home that occur within a one-year time frame, students are eligible for a maximum of a one calendar year extension of the deadlines within their degree, but no further extension, beyond the initial one-year extension of their maximum time to complete their degree.
Other deadlines and academic expectations may also be modified as part of the parental leave by the student’s academic home department or college. Any and all requests for modifications of deadlines must be documented in writing on the student’s Parental Leave Request Form. Any and all requests must be approved by the Graduate School in advance of the parental leave period, if possible.
Students requesting parental leave should be aware that requests for an extension of a deadline will not be granted if the deadline has already passed. In the event of multiple births or placements in the home that occur within a one-year time frame, students are eligible for a maximum of a one calendar year extension of deadlines within their degree, but no further extension, beyond the initial one-year extension of their maximum time to complete their degree. This equates to receiving Parental Leave up to three times within a one-year time frame.
International graduate students who are attending Michigan Tech full-time with a student visa or exchange visitor visa are encouraged to consult with the International Programs and Services office about their plans during the parental leave period to ensure compliance with immigration regulations.
Applying for Parental Leave
In order to apply for parental leave, graduate students must submit a completed Parental Leave Request Form at least four weeks in advance of the proposed leave period and no later than one year after the placement, adoption, or birth. Shorter timelines will be considered in extenuating circumstances.
Once the application is received by the Graduate School, the student requesting the Graduate Student Parental Leave will be contacted by a Graduate School staff member to meet and discuss their rights and responsibilities. This discussion will include how to discuss the proposed timeline and expectations with their graduate program utilizing the Graduate Student Parental Leave Arrangements Worksheet.
It is then the student’s responsibility to discuss an appropriate plan for their Parental Leave with their graduate program. The student may choose to have a Graduate School staff member assist with the communication of their plan.
The Graduate School will review submitted applications and will make the final determination about whether or not a student is eligible for parental leave. All students who meet the eligibility requirements will be granted the parental leave. The student will normally receive a decision notification within 10 business days of receipt of the form.
The Graduate School will notify the appropriate parties about the student’s absences and extensions.
Parental Leave and Current Funding
Graduate students who are funded with a graduate student assistantship will continue to be paid the minimum stipend and retain tuition support while on an approved Parental Leave.
Please consult the full Graduate Student Parental Leave Funding policy for complete eligibility and details.
Program Support for Temporary Replacements
Graduate programs who need to hire replacement workers to fulfill a graduate student’s duties while a student is on an approved Graduate Student Parental Leave may apply for funding from the Graduate School. Funding requests will be reviewed by the Graduate School and approved when there are funds available and the program can demonstrate need for the funds.
In order to request funds, the graduate student being temporarily replaced must be on an approved Graduate Student Parental Leave and must be funded on a graduate assistantship eligible for the University health insurance subsidy (GTA, GRA, or GATA).
Please consult the full Graduate Program Parental Leave Funding policy for complete eligibility and details.
Students who find themselves in situations that are not fully addressed by this policy or who would like additional advice or information should consult with the Graduate School. For example, students who experience medical problems associated with pregnancy or birth that require longer than six weeks recovery time may be eligible for medical leave.
Additional resources and related policies are listed below.
- The Pregnant Scholar – a Title IX resource outlining federally protected accommodations
- Dependent Care–A University policy that may allow for reimbursement of dependent care expenses above and beyond regular dependent care costs that directly result from travel on University business.
- Medical withdrawal – withdrawal and leave for graduate students to take time off for medical treatment.
- Withdrawal of students called to military service – policies to support students called to military service.
- University withdrawal – for discontinuing studies during a current semester. Eligible students may withdraw from the current semester and apply for a leave of absence for future semesters.
- Degree requirements - includes information about the time limit for the degree and required timings of the qualifying exam and research proposal examination
- Grade policies - includes information about the timeline to complete an incomplete grade.
- Children in the workplace - University policy to ensure the safety of children in the workplace.
For the purposes of this policy, any individual enrolled in a graduate program at Michigan Tech.
The individual designated by the family as having primary responsibility for child-care after the birth, child placement, or adoption.
The individual designated by the family as having secondary responsibility for child-care after the birth, child placement, or adoption.
The maximum time to obtain a master’s or doctoral degree as defined by the Graduate School in the degree requirements.
A master’s, doctoral, or certificate program offered at the graduate level.
A faculty member with graduate faculty status who is responsible for the administration of a graduate degree program.
A staff member responsible for assisting the graduate program director with the administration of a graduate degree program.
- Revised policy approved 6/8/2022. Changes include length of excused absence for birth by c-section, addition of foster care, addition of a worksheet for leave arrangements, general clarifications, and excused absences for a primary and secondary caregiver
- Policy adopted in 2010