Policies & Contracts

528 - Parental Leave

Subject: Parental Leave

Section: U528

Date: October, 2018


To provide non-union benefits eligible staff employees who have completed one (1) consecutive year of service with paid parental leave for the birth or adoption of a child and to establish guidelines for the use of such leave.

who is governed by this policy:

This policy applies to all benefits eligible staff employees who have completed one (1) consecutive year of service prior to the birth or adoption of a child. Employees represented by a union may be governed by the appropriate bargaining unit.

Policy statement:

Benefits eligible staff employees who have completed one consecutive year of service prior to the birth or adoption of a child may take up to six weeks of paid parental leave at the employee’s full pay to be completed within 12 months of the event. Pay is determined by the employee’s primary position’s regular base rate of pay and scheduled weekly hours of work at the time of the leave. Employees taking Parental Leave who are also eligible for FMLA leave shall have FMLA time run concurrently.

When both parents are eligible staff employees, each is entitled to paid parental leave for the birth or adoption. However, where both parents are University employees working in the same department, the department may elect to allow only one of the parents to take parental leave at a time. Staff employees who are receiving a foster child placement should refer to Policy U522 FMLA.

1. Administration of Parental Leave

a. Use of Leave. Except as allowed to cover the waiting period for Short-Term Disability (see 2.b below), parental leave must be taken in one block within twelve months of the birth or adoption. See Policy U513 Short-Term Disability. Births of twins/multiples do not extend the leave allotment.

b. How to Request Leave

      i.  An employee who anticipates a parental leave should provide written notice and discuss the plan with the supervisor at least 30 days in advance, if possible. When 30 days’ written notice is not possible, the employee must provide notice to the supervisor as soon as practicable and must comply with their unit’s normal call-in procedures.    

     ii.  Employees requesting parental leave will also be required to complete the Leave Request Form and return it to their unit HR Professional and to HR-Leave Administration. If the employee is also requesting FMLA leave and/or Short Term Disability due to the same event, only one Leave Request Form needs to be completed. The unit HR Professional and/or HR-Leave Administration will inform employees of additional obligations, including the need for documentation supporting the need for parental leave.

    iii.  Generally, when requesting parental leave, employees must be prepared to timely provide sufficient information to the University to determine if the leave is covered by the parental leave policy.

c. The University's Responsibilities. The University will inform any employee requesting parental leave whether they are eligible under the Parental Leave policy. If they are eligible, the University will notify the employee of any additional information required as well as the employee’s rights and responsibilities. If the University determines that the employee is not eligible for parental leave, it will notify the employee and provide a reason for ineligibility. For employees who are eligible for FMLA leave, the University will inform the employee if the parental leave will be designated as FMLA leave and the amount of leave counted against the employee’s FML entitlement. 

d. The Employee's Responsibilities. Consistent with the University’s policy regarding all types of leave, the following conduct is strictly prohibited in relation to parental leave:

i.   Engaging in fraud, misrepresentation or providing false information to the University or any health care provider.

ii.  Having other employment during the leave, without prior written approval from the University.

iii. Failure to comply with the employee's obligations under this policy.

iv. Failure to timely return from the leave.

Employees who engage in conduct described above will be subject to loss of benefits, denial or termination of leave, and corrective action, up to and including termination.

2. Additional Considerations Regarding Parental Leave

a. Health Insurance: During an employee's parental leave, the University will maintain health insurance and other group health benefits on the same conditions as if the employee was working subject to applicable plan documents and law. While on paid parental leave, the employee’s share of the premiums for those benefits will continue through payroll deduction at the same contribution rate as if they were an active employee.

b. Short-Term Disability (STD): 

i.  Employees eligible for STD may elect to use paid parental leave in up to two one-week increments to cover the STD waiting period. Parental leave may be used for this purpose regardless of the employee’s accrual balance.  

   ii.  The employee may also elect to use the entire six-week block of parental leave instead of using the STD benefit. Those electing this option will still be required to provide a release to return to work by a healthcare provider regardless of their eligibility for FMLA. See Policy U513 Short-Term Disability.

c. Accrual of Vacation, Personal and Sick Leave during Parental Leave:  Consistent with the University's policy for all types of leave, employees will not accrue vacation or other benefits while on parental leave.

d. Holidays during Parental Leave:  Employees will be paid for holidays that fall during parental leave, however it will not extend the duration of their leave.

e. Job Restoration:  Most employees will be restored to their original or equivalent positions with equivalent pay, benefits, and other employment terms after parental leave.

f.  Benefits Accrued Before Parental Leave:  Use of parental leave will not result in the loss of any employment benefit that accrued prior to the start of the leave.

g.  Retirement Plans:  Parental leave will be treated as continuous service (i.e., no break in service) for purposes of vesting and eligibility to participate in the University's retirement plans. 

roles and responsibilities:

Governed Party Roles and Responsibilities 
Employee The Employee is responsible for timely submitting a completed Parental Leave Request Form and any additional necessary documentation to their supervisor, HR Partner and Leave Administration. 
Supervisor The Supervisor is responsible for setting time off request procedures, ensuring they are followed, staying in contact with the employee on leave as appropriate, and entering and approving the time off calendar.
HR Partner The HR Partner is responsible to act as a liaison to ensure employees and Leave Administration have all the necessary information, and to complete the required return to work business process in Workday. 

related information:

Policy U222 Compensable Time, Record-Keeping and Tracking Absences

Policy U513 Short-Term Disability

Policy U522 FMLA Policy

Adoption Assistance Program and Policy

Child Care Referral Program

key contacts:

Name Email Extension
Center of Expertise - Benefits: Leave Administration leaveadministration@uchicago.edu 2-9634