The National Institutes of Health’s Health Resources and Services Administration last month modified the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Awards’ parental leave policy, making all award recipients eligible for leave regardless of grantee organizations’ internal policies for individuals in similar positions.
Notice NOT-OD-16-105 said:
Current policy allows trainees on institutional research training grants (T32, T34, T35, and the NRSA component of T90), and fellows on individual research training fellowships (F30, F31, F32, and F33) to receive stipends for up to 60 calendar days (equivalent to 8 work weeks) of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of a child when those in comparable training positions at the grantee organization have access to this level of paid leave for this purpose. Either parent is eligible for parental leave. The use of parental leave must be approved by the training Program Director.
Revised policy: Effective immediately, all Kirschstein-NRSA trainees and fellows may receive stipends for up to 60 calendar days (equivalent to 8 work weeks) of parental leave per year for the adoption or the birth of each child. Either parent is eligible for parental leave. Kirschstein-NRSA trainees and fellows must provide advanced notification to the grantee institution prior to taking parental leave. Notification of supervisors and others about plans to use leave must be consistent with the organization’s policy and must be consistently applied regardless of the source of funds.
In addition to providing up to eight weeks of parental leave per year, the policy revision also extends vacation, holiday and sick leave to Kirschstein fellows and trainees.
The change reflects one of the NIH’s family-friendly initiatives to promote a work/life balance for researchers supported by NIH funding. These initiatives provide increased flexibility to scientists at different levels in their career and helps to encourage a diverse research workforce.