UVA Expands Parental Leave Policy
Posted: September 11, 2018
During the next few months, an internal working group will develop an implementation plan for a paid parental leave policy applicable to all staff at the University and the College at Wise. Parallel processes will take place to review policies applicable to faculty as well as to Health System and UPG team members and to revise those policies as may be necessary. You can keep up with the progress of the working group and the details of the implementation by referencing the FAQs below. Please note that specific details may change as the team works through the iterative design process.
If you have specific questions, please email askHR@virginia.edu or call the HR Solution Center at 434.243.3344.
1. What is the purpose of UVA Paid Parental Leave?
Paid parental leave is intended to be used for care and bonding during the period of time immediately following the birth of a newborn or placement of a child under the age of 18 with a new adoptive, foster or custodial parent.
2. What process did UVA undertake to prepare for this benefit enhancement?
Following Governor Northam’s Executive Order in late June, UVA HR staff immediately began working to implement the new policy for classified staff and explore options for expanding it to other employees. Chief Human Resources Officer Kelley Stuck brought it to the attention of President Ryan soon after he took office in August. With his full support, she immediately assembled a pan-University team to begin developing plans for extending the parental leave benefit beyond classified staff.
3. What is included within the UVA Paid Parental Leave Policy?
The new UVA Paid Parental Leave policy will have the following elements:
- Provides full-time employees up to eight (8) weeks of paid leave (320 hours)
- This will be prorated based on percentage of hours worked (FTE). For example, if you work 40 hours per week you will be eligible for 100% of the paid parental leave benefit, or 8 weeks. If you work 30 hours per week, you will be eligible for 75% of the benefit, or 6 weeks.
- Runs concurrently with Family & Medical Leave (FML) and the benefits must be used within 6 months following birth, adoption or foster placement
- Paid at 100% of base salary, which could include a combination of leave or short-term disability benefit; parental leave taken will not be deducted from annual leave or PTO balances
- Can be taken once in a 12-month period and only once per child
- Although the structure of the leave benefit will remain the same across all entities, Faculty, Medical Center and UPG policies are administered and managed separately from University Staff policies.
4. Who is eligible?
To qualify for UVA Paid Parental Leave, you must meet all criteria listed below:
Be within one of the following roles: Academic Faculty, Administrative & Professional Faculty, University Staff, Professional Research Staff, Medical Center Team Members, UPG staff, or House staff
Eligible to enroll in UVA benefits
Qualify for Family Medical Leave (FML) and file a claim with the HR Solutions Center. In order to qualify for Family & Medical Leave, you:
- Must have been employed by UVA for a minimum of twelve months in the past seven years AND
- Must have worked for at least 1,250 hours in the previous 12-month period.
5. Which divisions of the University are participating within the UVA Paid Parental Leave Policy?
Employees working in the Academic Division, College at Wise, Medical Center, and University Physicians Group who meet the criteria outlined above are eligible for the parental leave benefit.
6. When will this benefit be available?
The effective date of the new policy is January 1, 2019, consistent with other annual benefit changes.
7. If the benefit is available in early spring semester in 2019 and I have a child in December 2018, how will this policy affect me?
Consistent with how UVA manages changes to benefits, availability of the benefit will begin on the effective date as described in #6 above and will not be retroactive. The internal working group is aware that there may be parents on an approved leave prior to the effective date, but may cross over into the new calendar year. Further detail on how the benefit will be applied in these situations will be provided by the end of October.
8. May a wage employee receive paid parental leave?
If you are a wage employee, you are not eligible for benefits such as paid leave. However, you may be entitled to a job-protected absence with no pay for bonding up to 12 weeks (480 hours) if you are eligible under FML criteria. Click here for details of the policy covering Family & Medical Leave.
9. May an employee access paid parental leave during his/her probationary period?
If you are eligible for FML during your probationary period, you may access it just as you may access other types of leave. Successful completion of probation is not a prerequisite for using parental leave.
10. If two parents of the same child are employed by UVA, is parental leave available only to both parents?
If both parents qualify, each of the parents may use parental leave.
11. If both parents work for the same agency, must the 320 hours of paid parental leave be shared?
No. If both parents are eligible, each of the parents may access up to 320 hours of paid parental leave.
12. If the full 320 hours are not used within the six month period, what happens?
Any unused time will be forfeited. Parental leave does not accrue or carry forward.
13. If the parent resigns before using the full 320 hours, will the remaining hours be paid out upon separation?
No. These hours are designated to provide pay for the specific purpose of bonding and returning to the workplace. Unused parental leave hours are forfeited.
14. If I qualify for maternity leave and would have normally filed a short-term disability claim, how does the benefit work with the short-term disability process?
UVA paid parental leave may be used within a 6-month period after the qualifying event and the paid parental leave benefit could be used to supplement short-term disability payments. For example, upon the birth of a child, UVA may require you to file a Short Term Disability (STD) claim and parental leave would supplement your short-term disability payment to make you whole at 100% of base salary. For cases of adoption or foster care placement, short-term disability would not apply and you would receive 8 weeks of leave at 100% salary. Additional details will be released in October.
ADOPTIONS OR FOSTER/CUSTODIAL PLACEMENTS
15. If I travel to other states or to a foreign country to make arrangements for adoption and for pre-adoption visits, is paid parental leave available for these trips?
Consistent with how the leave will be handled for birth parents, paid parental leave for adoptive parents is available beginning on the date of the adoptive placement.
16. If I travel to become a foster or custodial parent and must make visitations and court appearances prior to the actual placement, is parental leave available for this purpose?
No. Paid parental leave is available beginning on the date of the placement.
17. If I become a parent to a child/children upon marriage to that child’s/children’s parent, is parental leave available so that I can bond with my spouse’s child/children?
Paid parental leave is available in this situation only if/when you formally adopt or are granted custody of a child/children.
18. If I was granted custody of my biological child through a separation agreement/divorce decree, would I qualify for paid parental leave?
No. You would not have become a legal parent by virtue of a custody agreement, and you were already the child’s parent.
MULTIPLE/ADDITIONAL BIRTHS PLACEMENTS
19. Additional children/placements: If I adopt a child and later give birth to another child, may I use paid parental leave for each event?
Paid parental leave may be used only once within a 12-month period.
20. If I give birth to more than one child or adopt/place more than one child at the same time, will I receive additional parental leave?
No. This is considered one event that qualifies for one allotment of parental leave. Parental leave may only be used once within 12 months from the date of birth/placement.
21. If I become the legal custodian of one child and use parental leave, may I receive parental leave if another child is placed with me later?
This depends upon the timing of the placements. Paid parental leave may be used only once within a 12-month period.
22. What documentation will I be required to submit to prove parentage or legal custody?
Examples of documents that may prove parentage or legal custody are:
report of birth
order of parentage
certified DNA test results
foster care placement agreement
Documents must show date of birth or date of placement, if other than the date of birth. If the placement is for a limited duration, the end date of the placement should also be noted.
23. What if I have further questions?
This initial announcement is designed to provide information and raise general awareness of this future benefit. Please look for more information about UVA Paid Parental Leave in the upcoming months.
If you have additional questions, please email askHR@virginia.edu or call the HR Solution Center at 434.243.3344.