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

Contact Us

New Mexico, Room 350

Human Resources 4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20016-8054 United States

Back to top

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 staff and further our commitment to the health and wellbeing of our community. The new enhancements improve our already competitive benefit package and contribute to a better overall staff 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 8 weeks for Staff with 1 Year of Service
  • Short Term Medical Leave (formerly Short Term Disability) – Reduced Waiting Period (1 Week) and No Requirement for Sick Leave Exhaustion
  • New Paid Family Leave Benefit – ability to use a combination of DC paid leave and accrued leave to receive up to 100% of pay for 6 weeks
  • Enhanced Bereavement 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 www.american.edu/hr/benefits or email hrpayrollhelp@american.edu.

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.

No more than 8 weeks of combined PFL leave can be taken 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’s 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, and full-time staff will be required to apply for leave under PFL in order to receive the university-provided benefits. Employees 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.

  • Staff with at least one (1) year of service are eligible for this benefit. 
  • Full-time staff will receive 8-weeks of continuous paid parental leave at 100% of regular salary, offset by any payment they receive from the DC PFL. Eligible employees may be able to use their accrued annual and sick leave to extend leave through an approved Federal and/or DC Family and Medical Leave for up to 8 more weeks (16 weeks in total). 

Enhanced | AU Short Term Medical Leave for Childbirth

Full-time staff with six or more months of service are eligible for Short Term Medical Leave (STML) (formerly called Short Term Disability). STML for childbirth is for the 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.

  • We have reduced the waiting period for the benefit for staff from two weeks to one week
  • The university has eliminated the requirement that accrued sick leave needs to be exhausted
  • 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

Full-time staff with six or more months of service are eligible for Short Term Medical Leave (STML) (formerly called Short Term Disability).  Short Term Medical Leave (STML) provides up to 26 weeks of income protection if an eligible employee is unable to work due to a non-occupational illness or injury. 

  1. We have reduced the waiting period for the benefit for staff from two weeks to one week
  2. The university has eliminated the requirement that accrued sick leave needs to be exhausted
  3. Benefit levels will reduce from 100% to 75% of salary from week 14 to week 26 of the plan.
  4. The benefit received will be offset by any amount received from DC Paid Family Leave.

Enhanced | AU Family Leave

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

  • Employees will be eligible for up to 6 weeks of paid family leave under the DC PFL.
  • Staff may use accrued leave to supplement the DC benefit to 100% of pay.
  • Eligible staff can apply for up to an additional 10 weeks of unpaid DC FMLA leave. Staff can apply accrued leave, if available, to the unpaid DC FMLA leave. 

Enhanced | AU Bereavement Leave

Staff 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.