Birth/Adoption Parental Leave

Northwestern University supports a culture that recognizes the importance of family and the challenges of working parents. Effective January 1, 2015, the University is pleased to launch two new programs: Birth/Adoption Parental Leave (BAPL); and Adoption Assistance Reimbursement Program.

For more information on the Adoption Assistance Reimbursement Program, click here.


Birth/Adoption Parental Leave (BAPL) is paid absence from work for parents with a newborn or newly adopted child. This leave of absence allows for bonding time between the parent(s) and the child.


Service. Three years of continuous, full-time benefits eligible service no later than when the approved BAPL would commence is required. The continuous service must be immediately prior to the leave date.


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 twelve month period. Employees eligible for this leave of absence must complete the BAPL period within the first 12 weeks of the birth or adoption of the child.

"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.

BAPL may be used directly following the "disability period" for maternity leaves.

The disability period generally allows for up to 6-8 weeks of paid leave (extended sick time). BAPL allows up to an additional 4 weeks of paid leave. When combined, the disability period and the BAPL may total 10-12 weeks of paid leave for new mothers. BAPL is intended to be taken concurrently with FMLA and not on an intermittent basis.

At the end of the twelve weeks following the birth of the child, any unusued BAPL leave will be forefeited.

How to Apply for a Birth/Adoption Parental Leave

Application. The staff member must contact The Benefits Division and The Hartford 30 days prior to the leave. You can reach The Hartford at 1-888-541-7283. Click here for step by step instructions of applying for a leave.

BAPL Frequently Asked Questions