July 26, 2021
Office of The Director, National Institutes of Health (OD)
The purpose of this Notice is to announce that the NIH Division of Loan Repayment (DLR) is updating its policy regarding Family Leave and Unpaid Leave for NIH Extramural Loan Repayment Program (LRP) recipients.
The NIH LRPs are a set of programs established by Congress and designed to recruit and retain highly qualified health professionals into biomedical or biobehavioral research careers. Additional detailed information about the NIH LRPs is provided at www.lrp.nih.gov.
Individuals receiving LRP awards are employees at their institutions and all leave requests and decisions, paid or unpaid, are between the LRP recipients and their employers. Currently, any unpaid leave, even if it’s covered by FMLA, results in a reduction (or loss) of quarterly LRP payment. The updated LRP policy focuses on how an extended period of unpaid leave might impact an LRP payment or an LRP recipients’ ability to continue their participation in the LRP.
The updated LRP policy is effective October 1, 2021 and can be found in the Award section of the LRP website (https://www.lrp.nih.gov/award) to read as follows:
Family leave can be taken during an LRP award for certain family and medical needs. Recipients must notify DLR in advance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if they plan to take any family leave at their research institution.
LRP recipients requiring extended periods of time away from their research, that is, more than 15 calendar days of unpaid sick leave or 60 calendar days of unpaid family leave from their research institution, must seek approval from DLR to continue their LRP participation. LRP awardees must submit a request letter by emailing email@example.com, signed by the recipient and the research supervisor, before the beginning of the extended unpaid leave period.
If approved, the unpaid leave period may not exceed 12 months and will be granted only with documented justification to ensure continued LRP participation. Such leave does not reduce the total number of months of LRP support for which an individual is eligible. The LRP award will be extended for the duration of the unpaid leave; however, no LRP payments will be made during the unpaid leave period. Recipients must keep their loan accounts in good standing during this period. Any unpaid leave request that is not approved may reduce the number of quarterly payments or result in a termination of the LRP award.
Division of Loan Repayment
Division of Biomedical Research Workforce
Phone: (866) 849-4047