You are here: American University Human Resources News June 26, 2020 Communication: Leave Benefit Enhancements for Full-Time Faculty

American University Benefits Program Benefit Enhancements to Care for Yourself and Your Family

Highlights of Leave Enhancements | Effective July 1, 2020

American University is enhancing our leave plans, specifically around parental and family leave, short-term disability, and bereavement leave to respond to issues raised by faculty and further our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our community. The new enhancements improve our already competitive benefit package and will contribute to a better overall faculty experience in caring for ourselves and our families. These changes have been informed by feedback from the community and align with the new DC Paid Family Leave program. 

Improvements include:

  • New Parental Leave benefit – 100% of pay for a semester for full-time faculty with 1 year of service
  • New Paid Family Leave benefit – 100% of pay for 6 weeks for faculty who do not accrue leave, and ability to use a combination of DC paid leave and accrued leave to receive 100% of pay for library faculty
  • Enhanced Bereavement Leave for faculty who accrue leave – increased leave from 3 to 10 days for a death of a spouse, domestic partner, parent or child

All changes described below will take effect on July 1, 2020. For more information about any of the University’s leave benefits, visit or email

New | DC Paid Family Leave

The Universal Paid Leave Act of 2016 created the Paid Family Leave (PFL) program in the District of Columbia. It provides workers of DC employers, like American University, the following benefits effective July 1, 2020:

  • Eight (8) weeks of parental leave to bond with a new child, including adopted and foster children;
  • Six (6) weeks of family leave to care for a sick family member; and
  • Two (2) weeks of personal medical leave.

DC PFL allows a maximum of up to 8 weeks combined in a 52 week period.

DC is currently allowing up to $1000 a week, depending on your salary, which will be used to offset your AU benefits. To apply for the PFL program benefit, employees will contact the HR Benefits Team and the DC Office of Paid Family Leave (OPFL) within the Department of Employment Services (DOES).  Employees who apply for PFL benefits will receive their eligibility determinations and benefit payments from DC’s Office of Paid Family Leave. As this is a new program through DC, we ask the community for patience as we learn more about how they will implement and administer paid family leave.

The AU leave plans described below will coordinate with the new DC PFL. Full-time faculty will be required to apply for leave under PFL in order to receive the university-provided benefits. Faculty who qualify to receive a PFL benefit will have their university-provided leave benefit payments offset in an amount equal to the payment received from the District of Columbia. The DC PFL benefit will run concurrently with other applicable FMLA benefits.  

New | AU Parental Leave for Child Bonding

Parental leave is an important time in the life of a family for bonding with a newborn baby or a newly placed child in a household through adoption or foster care.

  • All full-time faculty on consecutive contracts and who have at least one year of service are eligible for this benefit. 
  • Teaching faculty will receive a semester of leave at 100% of pay, offset by any payment they received from the DC PFL.
  • Library faculty who accrue leave will receive 8-weeks of paid parental leave at 100% of regular salary, offset by any payment they receive from the DC PFL. Eligible faculty may be able to use their accrued annual and sick leave to extend leave through an approved DC Family and Medical Leave for up to 8 more weeks (16 weeks in total).  

Enhanced | AU Short Term Medical Leave for Childbirth

All full-time faculty are eligible for Short Term Medical Leave (STML) (formerly called Short Term Disability).  STML for childbirth is for the faculty birth mother to recover from the delivery (6 weeks or 8 weeks depending on the type of delivery). Short Term Medical Leave for childbirth precedes Parental Leave for child bonding. The STML benefit will be offset by any amount received from DC Paid Family Leave.

Enhanced/Modified | AU Short Term Medical Leave for Illness or Injury

Short Term Medical Leave (STML) provides up to 26 weeks of income protection if an eligible faculty member is unable to work due to a non-occupational illness or injury.

  • Library faculty use of accrued sick leave will be limited to just the one week waiting period (reduced from two weeks) and leave will no longer need to be exhausted for STML. 
  • Benefit levels are 100% of salary for weeks 1-13 and will reduce to 75% of salary from week 14 to week 26 of the plan.
  • The benefit received will be offset by any amount received from DC Paid Family Leave.

Enhanced | AU Family Leave

The university offers faculty members the opportunity to take unpaid leave for specific circumstances that relate to family events, and to service members for certain situations. Under DC PFL faculty will now be eligible to apply to receive paid family leave up to 6 weeks.

  • Employees are eligible to apply for up to 6 weeks of paid family leave under the DC PFL.
  • Faculty who do not accrue leave will receive an offset to maintain pay at 100% for up to 6 weeks. Faculty who do accrue leave may use it to supplement the DC benefit to 100% of pay.
  • Eligible faculty can apply for up to an additional 10 weeks of unpaid DC FMLA leave.  

Enhanced | AU Bereavement

Library faculty who accrue leave may use bereavement leave in the event of death of a family member without having to draw upon accrued sick or annual leave. 

We have increased the bereavement leave benefit from three to ten workdays in cases of the death of a spouse, domestic partner, child or parent.
The benefit provides three days of bereavement leave for the death of a grandparent, sibling, or parent or sibling of the employee’s spouse or domestic partner.