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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Maternity and Paternity Leave

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I am pregnant and I am concerned about missing time from work for appointments or any complications that may arise during my pregnancy.  Can I use the FMLA to protect those appointments and absences related to the pregnancy?

Yes.  FMLA covers all prenatal visits and complications, including morning sickness, prior to the birth of the child. 

What is the “period of disability”?

The period of disability is the normal time frame certified by a medical professional that the mother experiences following the birth of a child.  Generally, the period of disability is 6 weeks for normal delivery and 8 weeks for a caesarian section (c-section).

Can an employee parent take time off under FMLA to assist their daughter following the birth of a child?

Yes. The parent can take up to six or eight weeks, depending on the type of delivery, to care and assist their daughter following the birth.  The FMLA period will be authorized only for the period of disability.

My partner/fiancé is pregnant with our child, can I take FMLA leave to go to physician appointments prior to the birth?

No.  If the employee is not married to the mother of his child, the FMLA does not allow an unwed co-parent job protected time to attend prenatal appointments; nor does it cover missed time from work prior to the actual birth of the child.  An exception would be in circumstances where the unborn child is suffering from a serious illness that would qualify under the FMLA. In this circumstance, the un-wed co-parent would be allowed to use FMLA for pre-natal appointments. 

My wife/partner just had a baby, must I take the full 12 weeks all at once?

There is no obligation that an employee take the full 12 weeks of FMLA time all at once.  However, an employee must use the 12 weeks within a year of the birth or the time will be lost.

What happens if I am having a baby but my leave of absence needs to begin before I'm eligible for Family and Medical leave?  (i.e. Has not met the one year of service requirement or has not satisfied the 1040 or 1250 hours worked in the 12 months prior to the leave of absence).

If an employee has enough accrued leave to remain in a paid leave status up to the date they would satisfy both FML eligibility requirements (has met the one year of service requirement and has satisfied the 1040 or 1250 hours worked in the 12 months prior to the leave of absence), then they could begin their Family and Medical Leave after they are already on approved leave. 

For example: an employee needs to go out on maternity leave one week before they have worked 1040 hours in the 12 month period.  If the employee has enough accrued leave to cover the 40 hours of leave (one work week for a 1.0 FTE employee), then the employee would become eligible for FML.  The employee would be on a paid leave of absence for one week, and then begin a paid or unpaid (depending on remaining accrued leave) family and medical leave for the rest of the time his/ her treating physician requires them to be absent from work for the medical condition.  The 12 month allotment will begin when the employee first becomes eligible, not when she first goes  out of work.

If an employee is on leave without pay or goes into a leave without pay status prior to meeting both eligibility requirements, then the employee would not be able to become eligible for FML once his/her leave of absence has commenced.

Can an employee parent take intermittent FMLA following the birth of child? 

Yes.  An employee-parent or employee acting in loco parentis (in the role of a parent) can take leave intermittently following the birth or adoption of a child if the department agrees.  Employees should submit a schedule outlining their proposed schedule to their supervisor prior to taking the leave. The birth mother generally cannot work during this "period of disability". 

Can I use paid leave to cover my time out of work following the birth of my child?

Yes.  An employee may choose to exhaust all or any portion of sick leave, annual, or bonus leave or go on leave without pay during the period of disability.  Only vacation or bonus leave can be used before or after the period of disability unless the sick leave policy comes into play.

I’m expecting a child but don’t have enough accrued leave to cover my absence, can I apply for and receive shared leave?

Yes.   However, shared leave will only be authorized for the “period of disability”. 

Can I use shared leave to cover my absence if I return to work intermittently following the birth of my child?

No.  Shared leave cannot be used intermittently outside of the period of disability.

How much time can I take off following the adoption of a child?

An employee is entitled to 12 unpaid work weeks of job-protected time during the year for the adoption of a child.

If I have to travel or miss time related to the adoption, is this covered under FMLA?

Yes.  Appointments and time missed related to the adoption can be covered under the FMLA.

What type of leave can I use to remain in a paid status while taking FMLA for adoption purposes?

An employee may choose exhaust all available annual or bonus leave, take a leave without pay, or use a maximum of 30 days of sick leave. 

Have Additional Questions? Contact Us

University Leave Administrator
Margot Henion, 919-515-4319
Workers' Compensation Administrator
Thelma Speight-Farrar, 919-513-0106
HR Leave Consultant
Becki Johnson, 919-515-4317
HR Leave Consultant
Patti Sajecki, 919-515-4272
Workers' Compensation Coordinator
Glenda Linton, 919-515-4310
For Cooperative Extension
Leave and Employment Coordinator
Cheryl Howard, 919-515-1377
CALS - Extension Personnel