HRM-049: Paid Parental Leave for University Staff Employees

Date: 01/01/2019 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 of Virginia is committed to providing a work environment that is supportive of employees’ work and personal life obligations. In demonstration of this commitment, 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.

This policy describes the circumstances in which Paid Parental Leave may be taken, procedures for taking Paid Parental Leave, documentation requirements, coordination with other types of leave, reinstatement issues, and other matters related to Paid Parental Leave.

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.

  • 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.

  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA):

    Provides an employee up to twelve (12) workweeks of unpaid leave during a twelve (12) month period for family or medical leave and ensures the employee is reinstated to the same or an equivalent position following the leave period in accordance with FMLA guidelines.

  • 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.

  • Full-Time Equivalent (FTE)(1):

    The ratio of the total number of hours of a full-time position in comparison to the hours on a less than full-time position.

  • Parent (1):

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

  • University Staff Employees (University Staff):

    Those salaried, non-faculty employees hired on or after July 1, 2006, and those salaried non-faculty employees and administrative and professional faculty electing to participate in the University Human Resources System established by the Board of Visitors under the authority granted by the Restructuring Act and the Management Agreement. (The term “University Staff Employee” includes all three categories of University Staff Employees - Operational & Administrative, Managerial & Professional, and Executive & Senior Administrative.)

Policy Statement:

Effective January 1, 2019, Paid Parental Leave is provided to eligible University Staff 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]. Paid 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.

As is the case with all University policies, the University has the exclusive right to interpret or modify this policy.

  1. Eligibility:
    University Staff must meet the following criteria, all of which must be met as of the date that the child is born or placed through adoption, foster or custodial care. Specifically, the University Staff employee is:
    • Eligible under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) by being employed for twelve (12) consecutive months and has worked 1250 hours during the twelve (12) months immediately preceding the birth, adoption or placement of a child.
    • Employed in a benefits eligible position upon the birth, adoption or placement of a Child. (Note: If the adoption involves a child who is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability the age limit of eighteen (18) may be waived).
    • The University Staff employee is the biological parent(s), or adoptive parent(s).
    • University Staff who are not eligible for Paid Parental Leave on the date of birth, adoption, or placement may become eligible during the following six (6) months and access Paid Parental Leave once the employee meets the eligibility requirements.
    • Paid Parental Leave will end immediately if the University Staff employee no longer meets the criteria for eligibility. For example, if the employee voluntarily or involuntarily transfers to an ineligible position or separates from the University while on Paid Parental Leave.
    • If both parents are University Staff and meet the eligibility criteria listed above, they are each eligible for the Paid Parental Leave benefit.
  2. Leave Amount/Usage:
    Eligible University Staff are to receive up to eight (8) weeks (320 hours) of Paid Parental Leave. The amount of Paid Parental Leave is prorated based on the employee’s full-time equivalency (FTE) at the time the leave is used. Paid Parental Leave shall 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 (STD benefits) following birth.

    When the adoption is in the legal process, the Paid Parental Leave may begin from the point the child is placed with the eligible employee (granted custody) for the purpose of adoption. Paid Parental Leave will generally commence immediately following the adoption of a child.

    Eligible University Staff shall charge Paid Parental Leave in one continuous eight (8) week period. Paid Parental Leave may not be used on an intermittent basis. Paid Parental Leave shall only be used once per child and only once within a twelve (12) month period. One (1) Paid Parental Leave benefit is available per employee, per birth, adoption, or placement event. Multiple births or adoptions that occur at the same time (for example, the birth or adoption of twins) does not increase the length of Paid Parental Leave provided.

    Unused Paid Parental Leave is forfeited six (6) months from the date of the birth/placement and cannot be banked for later use. In addition, unused Paid Parental Leave is not compensable if the University Staff employee no longer meets the criteria for eligibility, set forth in Section 1.0 Eligibility or separates from employment.

    Each week of Paid Parental Leave is compensated at 100% of the employee’s regular, straight-time pay. Paid Parental Leave will be paid on the University’s regularly scheduled pay dates.

    Paid 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. Coordination with Other Available Leaves/Benefits:
    1. Coordination with FMLA:
      1. University Staff 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.
         
      2. Paid Parental Leave is available to eligible University Staff on the date of the birth, adoption or placement of a child regardless of the start of the FMLA period.
         
      3. Paid Parental Leave is not available for reasons covered by FMLA other than birth, adoption, foster or custodial care of a child under age eighteen (18).
         
      4. Paid Parental Leave shall run concurrently with the FMLA leave.
         
      5. If the amount of FMLA leave available is less than the amount of Paid Parental Leave to be taken, Paid Parental Leave will still be granted as specified in this policy, without regard to the existence of the individual's available FMLA leave.
         
    2. Coordination with Short-Term Disability Insurance:
      1. Paid Parental Leave will operate exclusively and independently of Short-Term Disability Insurance.
         
    3. Coordination of Paid Parental Leave with Other University Leaves:
      1. Leave Accruals - After ninety (90) consecutive calendar days with pay, annual and traditional sick leave accruals cease until the University Staff employee returns for a full pay period.
         
      2. Paid Parental Leave shall not be counted against an eligible employee’s annual leave accruals.
         
      3. Holidays – If an official University holiday occurs during the University Staff employee’s Paid Parental Leave, the University Staff Employee will receive holiday pay in lieu of a paid parental day, provided the University Staff employee is in pay status the day before and the day after the official University Holiday.
         
    4. Coordination with Group Health Insurance:
      1. The University will continue to pay its share of the cost of an eligible employee’s group health insurance during a Paid Parental Leave. The Eligible Employee’s share of the premium will be deducted from the University Staff employee’s pay in accordance with normal practice.
         
  4. Certification of Eligibility for Paid Parental Leave:
    Documentation of the birth, adoption or placement is required prior to approval of Paid 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, adoption or date of placement, if adoption or placement was other than the date of birth.

    Upon receiving a request for Paid Parental Leave and documentation of the birth, adoption or placement, the University Staff employee must be notified of his/her eligibility status within five (5) business days.

  5. Reinstatement:
    Except as provided in the following paragraph, the University Staff employee will be reinstated to the same position he or she held when Paid Parental Leave began or to an equivalent position with equivalent pay, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment, provided the University Staff employee can perform the essential functions of the position.

    The University’s obligation to restore the University Staff employee to the same or an equivalent position ceases if and when:

    1. The employment relationship would have terminated if the University Staff employee had not taken Paid Parental Leave.
       
    2. The University Staff employee informs the University of his or her intent not to return to work at the expiration of the Paid Parental Leave.
       
    3. University Staff employee fails to return to work at the expiration of the Paid Parental Leave.

    If Paid Parental Leave is due to the birth of a child, the birth mother must obtain a return-to-work statement from her health care provider and present it to her supervisor or University Human Resources upon returning to work. The statement must specify whether the University Staff employee is able to work and any physical or other restrictions on the employee’s ability to work. Reinstatement may be delayed until the University Staff employee submits the statement.

  6. Employee Responsibilities:
    Eligible University Staff are strongly encouraged to plan in advance for when they expect to use Paid Parental Leave and communicate such plans to their supervisor so as to facilitate the necessary departmental work planning.

    University Staff must complete all required HR forms and provide all required documentation to substantiate the request for Paid Parental Leave.

  7. Confidentiality:
    All medical information relating to Paid Parental Leave, whether verbal or written, including FMLA medical documentation, shall be kept confidential to the maximum extent possible. All medical documents including, but not limited to, medical statements and FMLA medical certifications must be maintained within University Human Resources in confidential, secure files separate from personnel files.
     
  8. 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.

    University Staff must comply with all leave request procedures, absent unusual circumstances. Failure to do so may be grounds for delaying or denying an employee’s request for Paid Parent Leave.

    Questions about this policy should be directed to the HR Solutions Center.

Related Information:

HRM-031, Paid Leave for University Staff Employees
HRM-038, Faculty Leaves
HRM-048, Paid Parental Leave for Classified Staff
Medical Center Policy # Paid Parental Leave [to be added]

Major Category: Human Resource Management
Next Scheduled Review: 01/01/2022