The University of Alabama, Division of Finance and Operations

Pregnant Employee Policy

Unit:  Human Resources
Contact: Susan Norton
Title:  Senior Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Chief Human Resources Officer
Effective Date: 9/9/2019
Revision Date: 06/27/2023



The University of Alabama (The University or UA) recognizes that pregnant individuals may need reasonable accommodations to have equally effective opportunities to participate in employment. The purpose of this policy is to set forth the University's policy related to the provision of reasonable accommodations for the pregnant applicant or employee's known limitations - specifically, any physical and/or mental conditions related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or other pregnancy-related medical conditions - unless the requested accommodations are unreasonable and/or would pose an undue hardship on the University's operations.  


The University complies with applicable laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Family and Medical Leave Act (FML), Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA), Pregnant Workers Fairness Act (PWFA), and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for Nursing Mothers Act (PUMP Act). The University will not deny employment opportunities or take adverse action based on an employee requesting or using reasonable accommodations in accordance with applicable law. 

An employee or applicant may request an accommodation due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a pregnancy-related medical condition by following the procedures set forth herein. An accommodation is any change to how, when, or where, a pregnant employee with a known limitation and/or disability works that enables the employee to perform the essential functions of a job and provides an equal employment opportunity to a pregnant employee or applicant. While there are some things that are not considered reasonable accommodations (e.g., indefinite, open-ended leave; creating a new position or transferring another employee from an existing position; providing personal use items, such as a breast pump, that is needed both on and off the job), UA and the employee can engage in an interactive process to identify any reasonable accommodations that may enable an individual to apply for a job, perform a job, or have equal access to the workplace and employee benefits. Though the reasonableness of each accommodation request must be individually assessed, the procedures related to this Policy include a non-exhaustive list of limitations and/or impairments relating to pregnancy and potential reasonable accommodations. 

The University also recognizes that pregnant employees may need to be absent from work for recovery from their childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, or other childbirth-related medical event. Therefore, it is the University's policy to provide six to eight weeks of unpaid pregnancy recovery leave to employees as described therein. 

The University will not require a qualified employee affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or pregnancy-related medical conditions to accept an accommodation other than any reasonable accommodation arrived at through the interactive process.  Furthermore, though an employee may request leave as a reasonable accommodation under this Policy, the University will not require an employee to take time off if another reasonable accommodation can be provided that will allow the employee to continue to work. 

Leave for Pregnancy Recovery

Faculty and staff employees who do not qualify for a medical leave of absence under the FML Policy, or who have otherwise exhausted their twelve weeks of available FML for a non-pregnancy related reason, are eligible for six to eight continuous weeks of unpaid Pregnancy Recovery Leave (PRL) to recover from a pregnancy-related event depending on the medical certification/documentation provided by the employee's health care provider. For purposes of this policy, the University will calculate the amount of leave available to an eligible employee for recovery from a pregnancy-related event using a 12-month,"rolling backward" calendar.

Staff employees on PRL may elect to use any available sick, annual, compensatory time to remain in a paid leave status. Faculty employees on PRL may request Paid Faculty Leave time from the Office of Academic Affairs. If an employee elects to use such leave, the accrued paid time will be applied consecutively at the onset of leave. The University will maintain employee benefits, including medical insurance, if the employee continues to be actively employed and in a paid status. If an employee goes into an unpaid status, the employee will remain in such status until the end of the approved leave and their return to work. If the employee does not have any such leave available or elects not to use it, then leave will be unpaid.  Employees in an unpaid status will be offered COBRA continuation coverage in accordance with federal guidelines. 

Upon return from PRL, an employee will generally be reinstated to the same position held when leave began, or to an equivalent position with equivalent benefits, pay, and other terms and conditions of employment. If an employee takes leave during their introductory period, the department reserves the right to extend the introductory period. Since leave as an accommodation is based on a medical need to recover from a pregnancy-related event, the employee must submit certification from a health care provider that the employee is able to return to work with or without restrictions. Refer to the Temporary Job Duty Modification process for any staff employee returning to work with restrictions. 

An employee requesting leave as an accommodation should request leave at least 30 days in advance to the extent practicable. If the need for leave is unforeseeable, the employee should provide such notice as is practicable. In such a case, the employee must follow their supervisor's usual and customary notice call-in procedures for reporting their absence, unless unusual circumstances exist. 

Only employees who require leave from work for a medical reason related to recovery from their own pregnancy-related event are eligible; PRL is not available for the purposes of bonding. For bonding-related leave, refer to the University's FML or Paid Parental Leave Policy. As a reminder, Paid Parental Leave is considered to be a paid portion of PRL or FML which does not extend the number of weeks available for leave under either policy. The Faculty Handbook applies to leaves of absence taken by faculty, regardless of time in service.  Additional information regarding pregnancy-related leave for faculty may be obtained from the Office for Academic Affairs.   


The University may request documentation from a pregnant employee's healthcare provider that supports the employee's limitation and need for the requested reasonable accommodation.  All medical information that the University obtains in connection with a request for reasonable accommodation is confidential and shall be kept in files separate from the individual's personnel file. Any University employee who obtains or receives such information is also bound by these confidentiality requirements. 

Notwithstanding these confidentiality requirements, the Human Resources (HR) Accommodations Coordinator may share certain information with an employee's supervisor, manager, Human Resources, and/or other University official(s) as necessary to make appropriate determinations in response to a reasonable accommodation request. The HR Accommodations Coordinator will also notify the employee's supervisor, manager, Human Resources, and/or other University official(s) as necessary of the reasonable accommodation to be implemented. The information disclosed will be no more than is necessary to evaluate, process and implement the request, if approved. No other disclosure of information will be made unless allowed or required by law.  

Request Process 

The University has designated a HR Accommodations Coordinator to coordinate requests for reasonable accommodation. To determine an effective and reasonable accommodation, the HR Accommodations Coordinator will engage in an interactive process with the applicant/employee. It is the applicant's or employee's responsibility to inform the HR Accommodations Coordinator that they need a reasonable accommodation to perform the essential job functions or to receive equal benefits, privileges, or terms and conditions of the application process or employment:Additional information, including contact information for the HR Accommodations Coordinator and guides to use the Leave Management system, applicable forms and procedures, can be accessed through the HR Accommodations webpage and the Equal Opportunity Programs Disability Accommodations webpage. 

All graduate students with assistantships who request reasonable accommodations related to a pregnancy, childbirth, or other pregnancy-related medical condition, including a need for leave, should request accommodations through the University's Title IX Office. Additional information regarding accommodations for pregnant students can be found in the Pregnancy FAQs

Nursing Mothers and Lactation Support

Employees who are nursing mothers will be provided with a reasonable amount of break time to "pump" or otherwise express breastmilk for their nursing child for up to one year after the child's birth. To support nursing mothers returning to work, private nursing mothers' rooms that are equipped with a table, chair, and a lock from the inside are available at various locations across campus.
  • Non-exempt, hourly paid employees who already receive paid break time(s) in the course of their regular employment may use this time to pump and will continue to be paid in the same way as other non-exempt hourly paid employees are paid for breaks. All other breaks for pumping are not paid (unless performing duties during the break).  Exempt, salaried employees will continue to be paid during reasonable breaktime(s) to pump. 
  • Supervisors may not define the number of break(s) or duration of time a nursing mother needs to pump at work, if the request is reasonable.
  • It's recommended that any nursing mother notify their supervisor in advance of returning to work of any request for reasonable break time(s) to pump or otherwise express breast milk so appropriate arrangements can be made. 
  • Additional information regarding lactation support, including a list of nursing mothers' rooms on campus, is available on the HR Lactation Support website

Discrimination and Retaliation Prohibited

Discrimination against an applicant or employee based on an actual or perceived pregnancy, childbirth, or other pregnancy-related medical condition in employment practices, including job application procedures, hiring, promotion, discharge, compensation, training, benefits, and other conditions, is prohibited. Retaliation against an applicant or employee requesting or using an accommodation is prohibited.  


If an applicant or employee wishes to make a complaint about the way an accommodation request was handled, or about perceived discrimination by the department against the applicant or employee based on the disability and/or request for accommodation, the complaint should be directed to the Executive Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX programs. If the complaint arises out of the actions of the Executive Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX programs, it should be filed directly with the Office of the Vice President of Finance and Operations. 


Pregnancy-related event: The recovery from childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, or other childbirth-related medical event. 


Accommodations Medical Inquiry Form
Applicant Procedures for Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy
Employee Procedures for Reasonable Accommodations for Pregnancy


This policy applies to applicants and employees with known physical and/or mental conditions related to, affected by, or arising out of pregnancy, childbirth, or other pregnancy-related medical conditions that may need reasonable accommodations to have equally effective opportunities to participate in employment. 

Office of the Vice President of Finance and Operations

Approved by Cheryl Mowdy, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Operations, 06/27/2023