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Becoming a Parent
Planning & Requesting Leave

UNDERSTAND

Parental leave is time off work you can take to care for and bond with your newborn or newly placed adoptive or foster child. Parental leave can be taken any time during the 12 months following the child's birth or placement.

Your parental leave eligibility, how much time off work you can take, and whether your time off will be paid or unpaid depends on:

Sound complicated? It can be. We want this information to help you understand how parental leave works, but we also suggest you meet with your department’s HR administrator or your unit’s Human Resources Consultant to review your options and help you plan your parental leave.

Federal & State Law

The FMLA guarantees eligible employees up to 12 weeks off work for parental leave. The Washington State Family Leave Act has eligibility and other provisions that are similar to the FMLA. At the UW a prospective parent is covered by both laws if the parent has:

For birth mothers

The state Family Leave Act provides that the 12-week parental leave entitlement is in addition to any time off work due to pregnancy-related illness or temporary disability. The amount of temporary disability leave a birth mother can take depends on her condition and her health care provider's determination about her ability to work. Birth mothers will be asked to have their health care provider confirm the time off needed to recover from pregnancy-related temporary disability. You may download a chart that displays the relationship between the FMLA and the state Family Leave Act.

For eligible parents other than the birth mother

Time off taken under the state Family Leave Act and the FMLA runs concurrently (not one after the other). You may download a chart that displays the relationship between the FMLAct and the state Family Leave Act.

Use of Paid and Unpaid Leave

Your Employment Program

Become familiar with the leave entitlements of your employment program. Each employment program has its own entitlements or provisions that supplement the FMLA and the state Family Leave Act.

Parental Leave Eligibility for Staff and Librarians
  Annual Leave Sick Leave Leave
Without Pay
Personal Holiday & Holiday Comp Time Comp Time (Overtime-Eligible Staff Only) Discretionary
Leave
Contract classified staff Yes According to the provisions of the collective bargaining agreement. Yes Yes Yes, if available. N/A
Classified
non-union staff
Yes For the birth mother, available sick leave may be used for the period of temporary disability and for up to 10 days of parental leave. A parent other than the birth mother may use up to 10 days of sick leave for parental leave. Yes Yes Yes, if available. N/A
Professional staff Yes For the birth mother, available sick leave may be used for the period of temporary disability and for up to 10 days of parental leave.

A parent other than the birth mother may use up to 10 days of sick leave for parental leave
Yes Yes Yes, if available OT Eligible Professional staff only. Yes
Librarians Yes For the birth mother available sick leave may be used for the period of temporary disability and for up to 10 days of parental leave.

A parent other than the birth mother may use up to 10 days of sick leave for parental leave
Yes Yes N/A N/A
Temporary staff N/A N/A For maternal temporary disability and for parental leave if FMLA eligible. N/A Yes, if available. N/A

Additional Leave Planning Considerations

ACT

Plan For & Request your Leave

Based on the preceding information, determine your parental leave entitlement and the leave you wish to request. Follow your department's normal leave request process to make your leave request.

Leave Planning Worksheet

If you'd like some help planning your leave, you may download and use the leave planning worksheet to help you calculate the amount of paid time off work you can expect to have when your parental leave starts, and then:

EXPLORE

If you need help determining your leave eligibility, talk to your departmentís administrator or the Human Resources Consultant (HRC) for your department.

Becoming a Parent
Topics

A prospective parent is covered by the FMLA if the employee has 12 months of cumulative state service, has worked for the state for at least 1,250 hours, including overtime, in the 12 months immediately preceding the date the FMLA leave will begin. and has not already used the current year's 12 week FMLA leave entitlement.