Family leave and grants

Is this normal?:

At my institution, NIH grants cannot be used to pay the salary of someone (whether PI, postdoc or grad student) on paid family leave (such as maternity leave) for more than two weeks of that leave. As far as I can tell, you are allowed to be off on maternity leave for up to three months of the project on which you are a PI without notifying NIH and giving back your money or otherwise changing around your budget, but the institution becomes responsible for covering that leave pay on general funds. This is happening for my grant, which normally covers a major portion of my salary and is cost-shared by my department. But while I'm away for maternity leave, the department has to foot 100% of my salary bill.

I can't tell if this is an NIH policy or what--Real support (particularly for young science moms) means dollars. It looks like despite the talking of big talk, they still leave the pressure of supporting research staff and PIs who have children on the PIs (in the cases of grad students and postdocs on leave) and institutions (in the case of PIs on leave).

But then there's this policy... and this one at NIAID, which provides supplements to PIs whose postdocs go on family leave so they can hire a technician for up to two years--which would address the transitioning of the project work (that I think it was drdrA who discussed before)... I am confused.

5 thoughts on “Family leave and grants

  1. That sounds very strange. I was a postdoc on a NIH T32 grant and was told I got 45 days paid leave which came from the grant funding. Neither of my co-PIs had to pay anything of my salary during that time. Good luck figuring it out.

  2. For the Kirschstein postdoc fellowships (like T32 and F32) I think the policies are slightly different, since postdocs on those are not considered employees of the university. It gets all complicated, I remember that from when I was on those and I lost access to the same benefits program as the postdocs who were on PIs R01s. (as an aside: how dumb is that? talk about a disincentive to get your own independent funding!)I'll keep poking around and trying to figure this out.

  3. Arlenna-This is an institutional thing. The NIH policy (I believe Isis had it posted recently) is maximum up to X number of weeks but whatever leave they allow is accordance with what your institutions normal policy is. If your institutions policy is 2 weeks paid maternity leave, then my interpretation of the NIH rule (which, I freely admit could be totally wrong) is that is what you get. I've never heard of the dept. covering your salary where the gap comes in, I've heard of people taking sick leave to cover their maternity (for which they need a doctor's note to take 3 months) though.

  4. That's why I am confused: our institution's maternity leave policy is 6 weeks, and sick leave is up to 22 days accumulated. They usually have you use your sick leave first (which is or is not? covered by NIH grant salaries?) then your maternity leave. But my dean said that they aren't allowed to keep me paid off the NIH grant for more than 2 weeks of leave regardless, even though the institutional policy allows me to end up with about 12 weeks total time off.

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