HRM-048: Paid Parental Leave for Classified Staff

Date: 08/23/2018 Status: Final
Policy Type: University
Contact Office: HR Solutions Center
Oversight Executive: Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
Applies To: Academic Division and the College at Wise.
Reason for Policy:

The University has established paid parental leave in recognition of the benefits to employees and their families for meaningful bonding time upon the birth or placement of a child. Parental leave also provides a strategic tool for employee recruitment and retention. This policy complies with the directives of Executive Order #12 (June 25, 2018).

Definition of Terms in Statement:
  • Adoption:

    The act of legally and permanently assuming the responsibility of raising a child as one’s own.

  • Child:

    A newborn biological child or a newly-placed adopted, foster, or custodial child under the age of eighteen.

  • Classified Staff Employees:

    Those salaried, non-faculty employees hired prior to July 1, 2006, and subject to the Virginia Personnel Act (T. 2.2, Ch. 29, Code of Virginia, §§2.2-2900 et. seq.).

  • Custodial Care:

    A placement authorized by a judgment, decree, or other order of a court providing for the legal and physical custody of a child.

  • Foster Care:

    The act of temporarily assuming the responsibility of daily care and supervision for a child removed from his or her birth family home due to issues endangering their health and/or safety.

  • Parent (1):

    A natural parent or a new adoptive parent who is the legally recognized biological, adoptive, foster, or custodial parent.

Policy Statement:

Paid Parental Leave is provided to eligible Classified Staff employees, following birth, adoption, foster, or custodial care of a child under the age of eighteen (18), in recognition of the importance of the opportunity to bond with the child. [Note: An individual who adopts a spouse’s or partner’s child(ren) is eligible for this benefit]. Parental leave may be used for temporary arrangements made through local departments of social services with the intent of reuniting the child with his/her birth family, if possible.

  1. Eligibility:
    An employee must meet the following criteria:

    • Classified Staff within the Academic Division employed for twelve (12) consecutive months and have worked 1250 hours during the twelve (12) months immediately preceding the birth or placement of a child.
    • Employed in a full-time, quasi-full-time, or part-time salaried Classified position upon the birth or placement of a child.
    • Must be eligible under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). An employee not eligible under FMLA may not use parental leave until (s)he becomes eligible.
    • Birth or placement of a child on or after December 26, 2017. Parental leave is not available to employees whose birth(s) or placement of a child occurred prior to December 26, 2017.
    • Eligibility determinations are made as of the date that the child is born or placed through adoption, foster, or custodial care.
    • If both parents are Classified Staff, work for the Academic Division, and meet the eligibility criteria listed above, they are each eligible for the parental leave benefit.
    • An employee who is not eligible for parental leave on the date of birth or placement may become eligible during the following six (6) months and access parental leave once the employee meets the eligibility requirements.
  2. Leave Amount/Usage:
    Eligible full-time Classified Staff employees within the Academic Division are to receive up to eight (8) weeks (320 hours) of paid parental leave at 100% pay, to be used within six (6) months of the birth or placement of a child for any one or more of the following reasons:

    • Care and bonding with a newborn child during the period immediately following birth.
    • Care and bonding with a child placed with the employee through adoption or foster care or a legal custodial arrangement.
    • Supplement reduced income replacement disability benefits following the birth.

    Eligible Classified Staff within the Academic Division working less than full time may receive a pro-rated portion of leave in accordance with their full-time equivalence. For example:

    • 30 hours per week (75%) employee eligible for up to 240 hours of parental leave.
    • 20 hours per week (50%) employee eligible for up to 160 hours of parental leave.

    Eligible Classified Staff within the Academic Division may charge parental leave in one continuous period of time or request and receive approval for intermittent use of parental leave.

    The 320 hours of paid parental leave may be used only once per child and only once within a twelve (12) month period. Examples for applying this leave include:

    • Should birth be given to twins, only 8 weeks leave may be taken;
    • Should birth be given on January 1t and then another birth on December 1st, only 8 weeks of leave may be taken; or
    • Should birth be given to a child and then an adoption (or foster arrangement) made, only 8 weeks of leave may be taken.

    Unused parental leave is forfeited six (6) months from the date of the birth/placement. In addition, unused parental leave is not compensable if an employee separates from employment or moves to a non-Classified Staff position. Parental leave terminates at the conclusion of the foster or custodial care placement or within six (6) months of the placement, whichever comes first.

  3. Relationship of Parental Leave to Other Available Leaves/Benefits:

    • FMLA:
      • Employees using paid parental leave are afforded the remaining job protection under FMLA for an absence up to a total of twelve (12) weeks (480 hours). They may charge personal leave or take leave without pay to cover the additional absence.
      • Parental leave is available to eligible employees on the date of the birth or placement of a child regardless of the start of the FMLA period.
      • Parental leave is not available for reasons covered by FMLA other than birth, adoption, foster or custodial care of a child under age eighteen.
      • Paid parental leave shall run concurrently with leave provided under FMLA, if the employee is eligible for FMLA.
         
    • Virginia Sickness and Disability Program (VSDP):
      • Parental leave may be used beginning on the date the baby is born to supplement income levels below 100% and use the remainder of parental leave after disability benefits cease.
      • Parental leave may not be used to cover the VSDP waiting period before the baby is born. If the birth occurs during the waiting period, parental leave may be used to cover the waiting period beginning on the date of birth.
      • Parental leave shall run concurrently or sequentially with VSDP, if the employee is eligible for VSDP.
         
    • Traditional Sick Leave Program Participants:
      • Parental leave may be used for FMLA events related to bonding by employees participating in the traditional sick leave program.
         
    • Leave Accruals:
      • After ninety (90) consecutive calendar days with pay, annual and traditional sick leave accruals cease until the employee returns for a full pay period.
      • Paid parental leave shall not be counted against an eligible employee’s annual leave accruals.
         
    • Holidays:
      • Employees on paid parental leave the day prior and the day after a holiday, are afforded holiday pay for the holiday and parental leave is not charged for that day.
      • Legal holidays listed in Va. Code Ann. § 2.2-3300 shall not be counted against parental leave.
  4. Employee Responsibility:
    Eligible Classified Staff should submit a written request for parental leave at no less than thirty (30) calendar days prior to the anticipated leave begin date or as soon as practicable.

    Employees must comply with all leave request procedures, absent unusual circumstances. Failure to do so may be grounds for delaying or denying an employee’s approval for parental leave.

  5. Certification of Eligibility for Parental Leave:
    FMLA policy does not require that its certification forms be completed for job-protected absences due to bonding. However, documentation of the birth or placement is required prior to approval of parental leave. Official documents that will be considered include but are not limited to:

    • Report of Birth
    • Birth Certificate
    • Order of Parentage
    • Adoption Order
    • Certified DNA test results
    • Custody Order
    • Foster Care Placement Agreement

    Documents provided should show date of birth or date of placement, if placement was other than the date of birth.

    Upon receiving a request for parental leave and documentation of the birth or placement, the employee must be notified of their eligibility status within five (5) business days.

  6. Compliance with Policy:
    Failure to comply with the requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion in accordance with relevant University policies.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to HR Solutions.

Related Information:

HRM-031, Paid Leave for University Staff Employees
HRM-038, Faculty Leaves

Policy Background:

Effective June 25, 2018, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed Executive Order No. 12, establishing paid time off for state employees for the birth or adoption of a child. The Executive Order directed the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) to establish policy and guidance documents to support implementation of the Executive Order.

Major Category: Human Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review: 08/23/2021
Approved by, Date: Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, 08/23/2018
Revision History: This is the first version of this policy.