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Birth/Adoption Parental Leave

Northwestern University supports a culture that recognizes the importance of family and the challenges of working parents. Since 2015 , the University offers two programs: Birth/Adoption Parental Leave (BAPL); and the Adoption Assistance Reimbursement Program.

Birth/Adoption Parental Leave (BAPL) is four weeks of paid leave for parents with a newborn or newly adopted child. This leave of absence allows for bonding time between the parent(s) and the child and is applied after the disability period for Maternity Leaves. 


Service. One year of continuous, full-time benefit-eligible service no later than when the approved BAPL would commence is required. The continuous, full-time benefit-eligible service must be immediately prior to the leave date.  Part-time benefit-eligible and non-benefits eligible employment types are not eligible for BAPL.


Holding the job

Four weeks of paid leave will be available to mothers and fathers who hold regular benefits eligible positions. Only one parental leave is allowed in a rolling 12-month period. Employees eligible for this leave of absence must complete the BAPL period within the first 6-months of the birth or adoption of the child. BAPL can be taken in one four-week increment or two two-week increments. 

"Parent" includes biological, adoptive, foster-care placement or legal guardianship of a minor child (i.e., under the age of 18). If both parents are employed at Northwestern University, they may take a BAPL leave concurrently.

The disability period generally allows for up to six to eight weeks of paid leave (extended sick time). BAPL allows up to an additional four weeks of paid leave. When combined, the disability period and the BAPL may total 10-12 weeks of paid leave for new mothers.

At the end of the 6-months following the birth/adoption of the child, any unused BAPL leave will be forfeited.

How to apply

You must contact The Benefits Division and The Hartford 30 days prior to the leave. You can reach The Hartford at 1-888-541-7283. View the Hartford flyer for step by step instructions of applying for a leave. Once your claim has been assigned to a claim administrator at The Hartford, you can request to speak to this person directly by scheduling an appointment online.

Additional information