The University of Alabama, Division of Finance and Operations

Paid Parental Leave Policy

Unit:  Human Resources
Contact: Susan Norton
Title:  Senior Associate Vice President for Human Resources & Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: 1/1/2022
Revision Date: 12/14/2021


 
 

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to support employees' work-life balance by providing Eligible Employees with additional paid leave time for recovery from childbirth and/or to bond with their new child.  Paid parental leave is available to Eligible Employees as set forth herein after the effective date of this policy or the Eligible Employee’s date of hire, whichever comes last.
 

Policy

UA will provide up to four work weeks (20 days/160 hours maximum) Paid Parental Leave to an Eligible Employee who is the birth, adoptive or foster parent of a newborn child, newly-adopted child or newly-fostered child. An Eligible Employee may use Paid Parental Leave only for recovery from childbirth and/or to bond with a newborn, newly-adopted or newly-fostered child under the age of 19.

A multiple birth, adoption or foster placement (e.g., the birth, adoption or fostering of twins or siblings) does not increase the length of Paid Parental Leave available to an Eligible Employee.

If both Parents are employed by UA, each Parent may receive up to four work weeks (20 days/160 hours maximum) of Paid Parental Leave within the 12-month period immediately following the date of the child’s birth, date of adoption, or date of placement of a child for adoption or foster care.
 

Leave Usage

Paid Parental Leave applies only when an Eligible Employee requires leave for recovery from childbirth and/or to bond with a newborn child, newly-adopted child or newly- fostered child under the age of 19.

Paid Parental Leave shall only be available to use during the 12-month period immediately following the child’s date of birth, date of adoption, or date of placement of a child placed for adoption or foster care with an Eligible Employee. Paid Parental Leave must be taken on a continuous basis, subject to usage in a minimum duration of one-week increments.

Eligible Employees may only utilize Paid Parental Leave once during a rolling backward 12-month period based on the date of the child’s birth, date of adoption, or date of placement of a child placed for adoption or foster care with an Eligible Employee.

All Paid Parental Leave described in this Policy is based on regular, full-time status and/or prorated based on full-time equivalency (FTE) for regular, part-time status. No employment duration or hours worked restrictions apply. Paid Parental Leave will be paid at 100 percent of an Eligible Employee’s straight-time, regular base pay (based on FTE) for the specified amount of time outlined in this Policy.

If an employee would otherwise be required to work mandatory overtime, then the time counts against the four work weeks (20 days/160 hours maximum) of Paid Parental Leave.

If an Eligible Employee plans to utilize Paid Parental Leave and is otherwise eligible to request Family and Medical Leave (FMLA), Pregnancy Recovery Leave (PRL) and/or other leave specified in the Faculty Handbook, then the employee must apply and be approved for the corresponding leave in order to use Paid Parental Leave. FMLA and PRL are unpaid leaves; however, employees may elect to use Paid Parental Leave hours in addition to any available accrued sick, annual, or compensatory time to be paid beginning at the onset of FMLA or PRL.
 

Coordination with Other Leave Policies

  1. If an employee is eligible for FMLA and/or PRL, Paid Parental Leave will run concurrently with FMLA and/or PRL.
  • FMLA is unpaid and limited to a maximum of 12-work weeks during a rolling backward 12-month period.
  • PRL is unpaid and limited to a maximum of eight weeks during a rolling backward 12-month period.
  • Paid Parental Leave counts toward this 12-work week FMLA entitlement and eight weeks for PRL.
  • Paid Parental Leave is considered to be a paid portion of FMLA and PRL which does not extend the number of weeks available for leave under FMLA or PRL.
  1. Paid Parental Leave is a separate leave from faculty maternity leave and may be taken at any time during the faculty member's regular appointment period within 12 months immediately following the child’s date of birth, date of adoption, or date of placement of a child placed for adoption or foster care.
  2. Paid Parental Leave may be used in conjunction with a variety of paid and unpaid leaves such as sick leave, annual leave, compensatory time, and UA-approved holidays. For additional information or assistance when planning a Paid Parental Leave, an Eligible Employee should contact the HR Service Center at (205) 348-7732 or email hrsvctr@ua.edu.
  3. If any provisions of this Policy conflict with another applicable state or local leave law, then the employee will be entitled to the benefits and protections of whichever is more generous to the employee.

Nine-month Faculty and Nine, Ten or Eleven-Month Staff Positions

Eligible Employees on nine-month faculty appointments or nine, ten or eleven-month staff positions may receive four work weeks (20 days/160 hours maximum) of Paid Parental Leave during the regular appointment period (e.g., the appointment period for nine-month faculty is typically 16-Aug through 15-May). If the date of birth, adoption or foster care placement occurs outside of the regular appointment period (e.g., during the summer months), then eligibility for Paid Parental Leave will begin with a new regular appointment period. 

Nine-month faculty or staff who have a summer appointment or are otherwise compensated by the University may elect to be eligible for and utilize Paid Parental Leave during that time period. If so, that time will count toward the 12-month period immediately following the child’s date of birth, adoption or foster care placement.

Notice

An Eligible Employee shall initially notify their supervisor and designated HR Representative of the need for Paid Parental Leave and the timing, duration, and schedule of the Paid Parental Leave.
  • If the need for Paid Parental Leave is foreseeable, an Eligible Employee must give a 30-day advance written notice of the need for leave, unless such notice period is not practicable.
  • If the need for Paid Parental Leave is unforeseeable, an Eligible Employee or their representative must provide such notice as is practical, which means following one’s supervisor’s usual and customary notice call-in procedures for reporting an absence, unless unusual circumstances exist. An Eligible Employee shall follow up the request for Paid Parental Leave in writing on an appropriate leave request form for FMLA, PRL, and/or any other applicable paid leave specified in the Faculty Handbook.

Holidays

If an employee receives designated holidays and an official holiday occurs during the Eligible Employee’s Paid Parental Leave, the Eligible Employee will receive holiday pay in lieu of a Paid Parental Leave Day, provided the Eligible Employee is in a paid status the day before and the day after the official designated holiday.
 

Group Health Insurance

UA will continue to pay its share of the cost of an Eligible Employee’s group health insurance during an approved Paid Parental Leave period. The Eligible Employee’s share of the premium will be deducted from the Eligible Employee’s pay in accordance with normal payroll practices.

Cases of a birth, adoption and/or placement of a child for adoption or foster care are considered “qualifying life events” and may require making changes to group health benefits elections. An employee must complete and return the appropriate documentation to the HR Service Center within 30 days of the qualifying life event in order for changes to be effective immediately. Failure to change elections and provide any necessary documentation within the specified timeframe will result in the employee having to wait until the annual open enrollment period to make changes to their benefits. Changes may also be made within 30 days of any subsequent qualifying life event.

Required Documentation

In addition to completing required University forms to request leaves applicable to the employee, Eligible Employees will also be required to provide documentation as follows:
  1. Medical Documentation of Childbirth.  If Paid Parental Leave is due to the birth of a child, an Eligible Employee is required to furnish appropriate medical documentation to verify a child’s date of birth. Since Paid Parental Leave runs concurrently with FMLA and PRL, and consecutively with other paid leave policies specified in the Faculty Handbook, the documentation requirements outlined within the relevant policy and/or procedures govern. Specifically, for FMLA requests due to employee’s own serious health condition (e.g., recovery from the birth of a child), the medical documentation should be completed and signed by the appropriate health care provider. The birth mother must also obtain a return-to-work statement from the health care provider and present it to their supervisor and/or designated Benefits Representative prior to or upon returning to work.
  2. Documentation of Adoption or Foster Care.  If Paid Parental Leave is due to the adoption of a child or the placement of a child for adoption or foster care, the Eligible Employee must submit documentation showing the date of adoption and/or placement of a child for adoption or foster care with the Eligible Employee and/or and pertinent information from the appropriate agency to the designated Benefits Representative.

Definitions

For purposes of this policy, the following definitions apply:

Eligible Employee: A regular, full-time or part-time faculty or staff member in a benefits-eligible category based on employee class code.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993(29 U.S.C. § 2611 et. seq.)

Parent: A UA faculty or staff member who is a legal parent/guardian of a newborn, newly-adopted or newly-fostered child under the age of 19. A legal parent is one whose name appears on the child’s birth certificate, a legal document establishing paternity, or a legal document establishing adoption or foster care placement.

Paid Parental Leave: A period of paid leave of absence (that does not reduce an Eligible Employee’s balance of any accrued benefit time such as sick leave, annual leave, compensatory time, or UA-approved holidays) for the purpose of recovery from the birth of a child and/or to bond with a newborn, newly-adopted child or newly-fostered child who is under the age of 19. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Paid Parental Leave runs concurrently with an Eligible Employee’s FMLA, PRL, and consecutively with any other applicable paid leave specified in the Faculty Handbook.
 
Pregnancy Recovery Leave (PRL): UA policy that provides up to eight weeks of unpaid leave to eligible employees who need to be absent from work for recovery from a childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, or other pregnancy-related medical event. PRL is only available to employees who do not otherwise qualify for a medical leave of absence under FMLA or who have exhausted their twelve work weeks of FMLA entitlement in the current, rolling 12-month period.
 

References

Paid Parental Leave Procedures and Examples 

Scope

All benefits-eligible, regular full-time and part-time faculty and staff employees are eligible for Paid Parental Leave, regardless of time in service. Only Eligible Employees who require a leave of absence for recovery from childbirth and/or to bond with the newborn, newly-adopted child or newly-fostered child are eligible for Paid Parental Leave on or after the effective date of this policy or the Eligible Employee’s date of hire, whichever comes last.
 
 

Office of the Vice President of Finance and Operations

Approved by Cheryl Mowdy, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Operations, 12/14/2021