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Parental Leave Policy (Interim)

Policy Information

PDF version
Effective Date: 
January 1, 2022
Last Revised Date: 
January, 2022
Policy Number: 
HR-302
Reference: 
University Staff Manual 3-108
Responsible Unit: 
Division of Human Resources

Purpose and Summary

The University of Arizona is committed to providing a work environment that is supportive of employees’ work and family life obligations. In demonstration of this commitment, the University offers paid and unpaid Parental Leave to Eligible Employees upon the birth, adoption, Foster Placement, Legal Guardianship Placement, Stillbirth, or Surrogacy of a Child.

Scope

This Policy applies to all University employees who meet the definition of Eligible Employee.

Definitions

Child:  Person under the age of 18.

Eligible Employee:  A University employee who

  • Currently serves in a position that is eligible for full benefits (University of Arizona, Arizona Department of Administration, and Arizona Board of Regents sponsored benefits); and
  • Has been employed in a full benefits position by the University for at least 12 continuous months prior to the commencement of the requested leave.

For employees on a nine-month academic-year work schedule, the summer months between academic years apply toward the 12 months of continuous employment.

Foster Placement:  The placement of a Child by a state agency with an individual who is not the Child's parent or legal guardian and who seeks the opportunity to adopt the Child. 

Legal Guardianship Placement: A court-ordered relationship in which a person is assigned the responsibility and authority to provide physical care and supervision for a Child.

Parental Leave: A benefit that provides up to 12 workweeks of paid leave and 12 workweeks of unpaid leave for Eligible Employees upon the birth, adoption, Foster Placement, Legal Guardianship Placement, Stillbirth, or Surrogacy of a Child in their care.

Stillbirth:  The death or loss of a Child before or during delivery, defined as the loss of a Child at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Surrogacy:  An arrangement whereby a person agrees to bear a Child for another person or persons who are the Child’s intended parents.

Policy

The University offers Eligible Employees the following Parental Leave:

  • 12 workweeks of paid Parental Leave and 12 workweeks of unpaid Parental Leave, for a total of 24 workweeks of Parental Leave.
  • Parental Leave may be taken for one or more of these qualified reasons:
    • The birth of a Child
    • The adoption of a Child
    • The Surrogacy of a Child
    • The Foster Placement of a Child
    • The Legal Guardianship Placement of a Child
    • Stillbirth

Parental Leave must be taken continuously within the first 12 months after the birth, adoption, Foster Placement, Legal Guardianship Placement, Stillbirth, or Surrogacy of a Child. The Eligible Employee's supervisor may grant an exception to this requirement and approve an intermittent or reduced work schedule, provided this approval is documented in the completed Request for Parental Leave form. 

At the request of the Eligible Employee, Parental Leave may start up to 2 workweeks prior to the anticipated birth, adoption, Foster Placement, Legal Guardianship Placement, or Surrogacy of a Child.

Parental Leave is available only once during a consecutive 12-month period. The calculation of the 12-month period begins from the first day of approved Parental Leave.

Parental Leave can only be used once for the same Child. For Foster Placements and Legal Guardianship Placements, Parental Leave will only be provided for the period that the Child is placed with the employee. 

If an Eligible Employee chooses to take any portion of the available 12 workweeks of unpaid Parental Leave, they must apply their earned sick, vacation, or compensatory time before using unpaid leave.

It is the Eligible Employee’s responsibility to initiate the Parental Leave request process. Requests for Parental Leave must be submitted at least 60 days before the leave is expected to begin. The University recognizes that extenuating circumstances (e.g., early birth, Foster Placement) may make advance notice difficult to provide and that supervisors may grant exceptions to this requirement in such cases.

Other Provisions

When Both Parents Are University Employees: When both parents are University employees who meet eligibility guidelines, each parent is entitled to 12 workweeks of paid Parental Leave and 12 workweeks of unpaid Parental Leave, for a total of 24 workweeks of Parental Leave for each parent. The leaves may be taken at the same time or at different times, as long as they are taken within the first 12 months after the birth, adoption, Foster Placement, Legal Guardianship Placement, Stillbirth, or Surrogacy of a Child.

Payback Provision: Eligible Employees who fail to return to work for at least 30 calendar days after their approved Parental Leave ends agree to reimburse the University for the salary and benefits paid by the University during the period of paid Parental Leave. This reimbursement requirement will be excused if the Eligible Employee’s failure to return to work is related to the onset, recurrence, or continuation of a serious health condition of the Eligible Employee or the Child and the Eligible Employee provides documentation from the healthcare provider, or the Eligible Employee is granted approved leave for another reason (e.g., bereavement).

Compliance and Responsibilities

Retaliation or Interference

The University prohibits adverse action or retaliation against an employee who elects to take Parental Leave. Supervisors are prohibited from interfering with an employee’s ability to take Parental Leave. Employees who are concerned about retaliation or interference are encouraged to contact Human Resources.  

Responsibilities

Requesting leave is the responsibility of the Eligible Employee.

The Eligible Employee’s supervisor and Human Resources are responsible for approving the leave and keeping the leave paperwork on file.

Frequently Asked Questions*

When can employees take paid Parental Leave?

Eligible Employees can take up to 12 workweeks of Paid Parental Leave and 12 workweeks of unpaid Parental Leave at any time during the first 12 months following the birth, adoption, Foster Placement, Legal Guardianship Placement, Stillbirth, or Surrogacy of a Child. Parental Leave must be taken continuously within the first 12 months after the birth, adoption, Foster Placement, Legal Guardianship Placement, Stillbirth, or Surrogacy of a Child, unless the supervisor grants an exception and agrees to an intermittent or reduced work schedule, and this agreement is documented in the completed Request for Parental Leave form.

At the request of the employee, Parental Leave can start up to 2 workweeks prior to the anticipated birth, adoption, Foster Placement, or Legal Guardianship Placement of a Child.

How does an Eligible Employee apply for Parental Leave?

  1. Fill out the Request for Parental Leave form and have your supervisor sign it. To support departmental planning, please complete the form at least 60 days in advance of a planned leave, unless extenuating circumstances make it impossible to do so.
  2. If you wish to work an intermittent or reduced work schedule, discuss with your supervisor your proposed schedule and whether it can be accommodated given your job functions. Enter the agreement reached on the form.
  3. After obtaining your supervisor’s signature, submit a copy to your supervisor and the Leave Advising Team in Human Resources.
  4. Work with your supervisor to create a leave plan to cover essential functions during your absence.

Additional Parental Leave FAQs

Revision History*

Replaces Parental Leave Policy in effect from July 1, 2014, to December 22, 2021.

* Please note that sections titled Frequently Asked Questions, Sources, Related Information, and Revision History are provided solely for the convenience of users and are not part of the official University policy.

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