The University Record, November 19, 1996

Maternity Leave: Commonly Asked Questions

By Leslie dePietro
Family Care Resources Program

The Standard Practice Guide (SPG) does not actually refer to maternity leave, but rather, to the time off needed for birth (for mother’s recuperation) as "medical leave of absence." Time off to care for the new child (birth, adoption or foster care for either parent) is a "child care leave of absence." Yet, a third type of leave of absence is a combination of the two types of leaves referred to as "medical/child care" leave. When an employee needs to be off work due to these reasons and has no vacation or sick time accrued, a leave of absence must be processed. The employee must complete a request for leave of absence form. This form along with the employee’s TAD (turn around document) is processed through Employment Services. Refer to SPG sections 201.11 and 201.30 for specifics concerning leaves of absence.

Q. What are my options if I need time off before I have a baby?

A. If your doctor orders time off before the baby is born, you would use your available sick time. You must bring to your supervisor a physician’s statement stating the dates the doctor orders that you need to be off. (Physician’s Statement #36607, available from your supervisor or from Employment Services). However, if you decide you would like to take time off, but there is no medical reason you need to be off, you must use whatever vacation time you have accrued. This requires permission from your supervisor and also is paid time off.

Q. What are my options for time off when I give birth to my baby?

A. First, you must use up all remaining short-term sick time (whatever remains of your 15-day accrual). If you have been employed at the University for at least two years, you are entitled to use extended sick time for as long as the doctor says you are unable to work for a medical reason and you need it for recovery from childbirth (usually 6--8 weeks). If you have a complicated pregnancy and/or childbirth, extended sick time is paid at full pay for up to six months, and at half-pay for another six months. You must provide a doctor’s statement that you are unable to work for ("x" number) of weeks, due to childbirth. This is the standard three-page medical statement (see above). If you have not been employed at the University for at least two years, you are not eligible for extended sick time. An immediate leave of absence will be necessary after your available sick and vacation accrual have been exhausted.

Q. What if I want to take more time off after the baby is born, after I adopt a child, or take in a foster child?

A. This is known as a child care leave of absence and is unpaid time off. You must use up all of your accrued (paid) vacation time prior to taking a child care leave of absence. You may take an initial leave of up to six months, or you may take an extended leave for up to one year, with permission from your supervisor. This time does not include the time off when you have been using up sick and vacation time. Whenever possible, you should notify your supervisor as far in advance as possible, so that she/he can arrange to cover your work load. Please be aware that if you extend your child care leave beyond six months, and your job is no longer available, you may be placed in a three-month "post leave placement" status. During this time, you may apply for vacant positions. If you have not been placed within the three months after your leave has expired, your employment with the University will be terminated. If you have worked at the University for at least 12 months, the University will continue to cover its portion of your health, dental and vision insurance for the first 12 weeks of your leave. After that, you need to continue payment to keep your benefits.