Diocese announces new paid family and medical leave policy

Arlington, Va. - The Diocese of Arlington now offers eight weeks of paid family and medical leave to about 3,000 lay employees, giving them a greater ability to address family needs resulting from childbirth, adoption, a close relative's illness, or their own medical concerns.

The policy, effective July 1, 2023, means that current lay employees having at least one year of employment with the Diocese who work at least 1,250 hours a year (approximately 24 hours a week) are now eligible for eight weeks of paid leave to address family concerns.

Additionally, these same employees are eligible to take up to 10 days of bereavement leave for the loss of a loved one, including a child lost in miscarriage. 

“I know as a son who had that opportunity to walk with my parents when they were struggling, to be able to leave responsibilities knowing that others are going to help fill that, alleviated that stress. It's like a family within this diocese, within our places of work, because when someone's out for eight weeks the other members of the family, the team, pick it up,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge.

The new policy affects roughly two-thirds of the Diocese's 4,500 employees. The policy allows employees to take up to eight weeks of paid leave, without dipping into their own vacation or sick leave following:

  • The birth, adoption, or foster care of a new child
  • To care for their own serious medical condition
  • To care for a family member with a serious medical condition


Additionally, the Diocese has expanded its bereavement leave policy to provide employees who are scheduled to work 20 or more hours a week with up to 10 days of paid leave for the loss of a loved one, including a child lost in miscarriage.

Under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, all employees of a company with at least 50 employees are guaranteed job security for 12 weeks so they can tend to family health issues. However, the law does not stipulate payment during this time, simply job security.

“Often, I will talk to employees who share their joy about the birth of a child, but that joy is tempered by the added stress of having to rush back to work so they can pay bills. Other times I will hear from employees helping their own parents, and, in addition to being concerned about their loved one's health, they are worried about how they are going keep their own jobs. It is my hope that these policies will help lessen some of that burden,” Bishop Burbidge said.

The policy shifts apply to lay employees who work in the diocesan Chancery, parishes, the Office of Catholic Schools and Catholic Charities of Arlington.

Media interested in discussing the new family leave policies with Bishop Burbidge and/or other employees of the Diocese should contact Mary Shaffrey, director of media relations, at (703) 841-2517 or mary.shaffrey@arlingtondiocese.org.