SO YOU’RE GOING TO BE A PARENT!
Congratulations! You have a lot to prepare for, so let’s get your time off from work taken care of.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. WHAT IS PARENTAL LEAVE?
Parental leave is time off from work used to bond with a new child, either by birth, adoption, or foster placement.
2. HOW LONG CAN I BE ON LEAVE?
- Post-Partum Disability Leave (also known as Maternity Leave)
- If you are the birth parent, you can take 6-8 weeks for postpartum disability (eight weeks in the event of a C-section), or as prescribed by a health care provider, immediately following the birth. When this period ends, your parental leave begins.
- Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- For FMLA eligible parents, your FMLA period will run concurrently with postpartum disability and parental leave. See your Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for exceptions to this. If you are the birth parent and have a medically complicated pregnancy, FMLA may begin prior to birth. If you are not FMLA eligible, see #4.
- Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML)
- PFML eligible birth parents can receive up to 16 weeks of wage replacement benefits from the State of Washington during your leave (up to 18 weeks if you have pregnancy complications). Non-birth parents can receive up to 12 weeks. You have 12 months from the date of a child’s birth, adoption or foster placement to take PFML. If you have worked for the UW for 12 months and 1250 hours prior to taking PFML (See your Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for exceptions to this), the leave will be job and health benefit protected. More information here.
3. WHAT FORMS ARE NEEDED FOR ME TO TAKE LEAVE?
- For pregnancy, submit an email to Sena Camarata with a note from your healthcare provider stating your anticipated due date. Include in this email what your plan for leave is.
- After your post-partum check-up, submit a note to Sena Camarata from the healthcare provider stating your return to work date.
- For parental bonding, submit an email to Sena Camarata with your leave plan and either a healthcare provider note stating the date of birth, adoption paperwork, or foster placement paperwork.
4. AM I REQUIRED TO TAKE ALL OF THE LEAVE AT ONCE?
Parental Leave is generally taken as continuous (full) leave of absence or, if it meets business needs and has the approval of your supervisor and HR Director, can be granted as intermittent leave or a modified work schedule. Leave covered by PFML can be taken intermittently or on a reduced schedule for the 12 months following the date of a child’s birth, adoption or placement. The minimum PFML claim is eight (8) consecutive hours.
5. WHAT HAPPENS IF MY CHILD ARRIVES EARLY OR LATE?
This happens all the time. Contact your supervisor and HR Director with the new date(s).
6. HOW DO I KEEP MY HEALTH BENEFITS WHILE I’M ON LEAVE?
During FMLA (or a PFML covered leave if you have worked for the district for 12 months and 1250 hours prior to taking PFML) your health insurance benefits continue just as if you were working. After your FMLA and/ or PFML is exhausted, or if you are not eligible for FMLA or PFML, you will need to remain in “pay status” to maintain your benefits. Pay status means that you either use eight hours of paid time off or work eight hours a month. *If you are absent an entire calendar month without being in pay status, you will need to self-pay (pay both your and the District's portion) to keep your health insurance.
7. WHAT IS PARENTAL SHARED LEAVE?
New parents can apply and be approved to receive donations of time off from other district employees. Donations can be used once sick leave balance is reduced to 40 hours or less. A birth parent is eligible to use donated time during the entire period of post-partum disability, and the following 16 weeks. Non-birth parents may use donated time for the 16 weeks immediately after birth or placement of a child. Check online or contact your HR Director for forms.
8. HOW DO I GET PAID WHILE ON LEAVE?
- Shared Leave
- Sick leave (up to 18 weeks)
- Personal Leave
- PFML (payment from the State of WA)*
* You may also use a combination of PFML and paid time off other than shared. You may also take pre-approved Unpaid Time Off during your leave.
9. CAN I USE MATERNITY LEAVE TO COVER ABSENCES RELATED TO MY PREGNANCY OR PRENATAL CARE?
Maternity leave is not available until the baby is born. For absences related to pregnancy or prenatal care, you may use other types of time off for which you are eligible, such as sick leave, short-term leave of absence, vacation or personal days.
10. CAN I USE MATERNITY AND PARENTAL LEAVE INTERMITTENTLY OR PART-TIME?
Maternity leave must be used as a single block of up to 6 weeks of time off immediately following childbirth (240 hours with an 8-hour day and 210 hours for a 7-hour day). Parental leave scheduling is subject to HR Director approval, but will be approved if a single block of time is requested. Check with your supervisor or HR Director for more information.
11. AM I ENTITLED TO TAKE PARENTAL LEAVE AT ANY TIME OF MY CHOOSING?
Eligible staff are entitled to take parental leave in the 12 months following their child’s birth or placement for adoption, foster care or legal guardianship, with scheduling subject to HR department approval.
12. I WORK PART-TIME. HOW MUCH MATERNITY AND PARENTAL LEAVE AM I ELIGIBLE FOR?
Maternity and parental leave are prorated to the contract you are working.
13. WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED LONGER THAN 6 WEEKS FOR MEDICAL RECOVERY FROM CHILDBIRTH?
In the event that you require longer than 6 weeks for recovery from childbirth (for example, due to a cesarean section or medical complications), you may continue to use sick leave, short-term leave of absence, vacation, or personal days (if you have this time available). An example of unpaid time off is a Medical/Child Care Leave of Absence.
14. I AM EXPECTING TWINS. DO I QUALIFY FOR A LONGER MATERNITY OR PARENTAL LEAVE?
No. Maternity and/or parental leave are available for each birth event associated with a single pregnancy, whether single or multiple birth.
15. DOES PARENTAL LEAVE CARRY OVER IF I HAVEN’T USED ALL OF IT BY THE END OF 12 MONTHS?
No. You must use parental leave within 12 months of the child’s birth or placement for adoption, foster care or legal guardianship.
16. WHAT IS A CHILDCARE LEAVE?
Child care leave is an option after FMLA is exhausted or in lieu of FMLA. It is an unpaid leave of absence and does not provide for district paid health benefits.
17. IF BOTH PARENTS WORK IN THE ISSAQUAH SCHOOL DISTRICT, CAN EACH PARENT TAKE UP TO 12 WEEKS OF FMLA FOR PARENTAL BONDING?
No, if both parents work in the Issaquah School District, then only one parent may use FMLA for parental bonding.
For additional information, you may wish to refer to the applicable sections of your collective bargaining agreement.
Please feel free to contact Human Resources if you have questions specific to your situation.
HR Contact: Sena Camarata, Director of Human Services, email@example.com, 425-837-7033