May 11, 2018

Staff Parental Leave

All staff employees are eligible for these unpaid leaves; excluded are those claiming student status (including teaching and research assistants). Faculty should refer to the Faculty Handbook. For all leaves described in this policy, in the event of a difference between the policy and a collective bargaining agreement, the terms of the collective bargaining agreement govern.

Eligibility for receiving pay or a percentage of pay during these unpaid leaves depends on the situation and is outlined in more detail in the sections below.

All leaves referenced herein run concurrently with all other leaves provided by law. Similarly, all benefit payments provided under this policy run concurrently with all other benefits, as permitted by law. For more information, employees should contact their HR Partner and/or visit the Employee Gateway’s new baby or adoption page.

For a foreseeable leave (or foreseeable need for transfer or other arrangements, in the case of pregnancy) the employee must provide at least 30 days advance written notice. If the leave or need for a transfer is not foreseeable, the employee must give written notice as soon as possible. The notice must include the expected start and return to work dates. The manager must respond to a leave or transfer request as soon as possible, before the leave/transfer is to begin and no later than 10 days after the request.

Employees on pregnancy or parental leave do not accrue paid time off while on leave.

It is unlawful to discriminate or retaliate against an employee for exercising his/her right to take pregnancy or parental leave.

Pregnancy-related medical leave for birth mothers

Federal and state regulations governing pregnancy leave are complex and frequently change. To ensure the university complies with applicable laws, departments must contact Human Resources Administration for advice when a situation arises that may qualify an employee for this leave. Employees seeking pregnancy medical leave should consult their HR Partner to review their rights under this policy.

The university complies with California law which provides up to 4 months of unpaid, job-protected leave, as needed per medical certification, for the period of time a woman is disabled by pregnancy, childbirth or a related medical condition.

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) gives birth mothers 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave, which can be taken immediately after the pregnancy leave disability period, or anytime during the baby’s first year of life. (This may vary if employee already took CFRA leave for another reason within the previous 12 months – employees should consult with their HR Partner.)

Change in position or duties due to pregnancy-related medical conditions

If a qualified medical practitioner certifies it is medically advisable for a pregnant employee to be transferred to a less strenuous and/or less hazardous position or duties for some period of time during the pregnancy, the department must transfer the employee to a position of comparable pay and benefits, provided the transfer can be reasonably accommodated. The department may not transfer the employee to a position which would violate the terms of a collective bargaining agreement. The medical certification must contain the date on which the need to transfer became medically advisable, the probable duration of the period(s) needed for the transfer, and an explanatory statement that the transfer is medically advisable.

Intermittent leave/reduced work schedules due to pregnancy-related medical conditions

The employee must first consult with her manager about scheduling of planned medical treatment related to pregnancy to minimize disruption to the department’s operation. However, when intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule is medically advisable, the department must provide it. The manager may require the employee transfer to an available alternative position of comparable pay and benefits which will better accommodate the periods of recurring leave.

When an employee takes intermittent leave or works on a reduced work schedule, only the time off actually taken may be counted toward the pregnancy leave.

Reinstatement after leave, transfer, or reduced work schedule

When an employee temporarily disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth, or a related medical condition is no longer disabled, and/or when intermittent leave or a reduced work schedule is no longer necessary, the department must reinstate her to the original position or, if the original position has ceased to exist due to business necessity, to a substantially similar position of comparable pay and benefits.

Getting paid during pregnancy leave

Although pregnancy-related medical leave is unpaid, the employee may qualify for a paid benefit. Employees should contact the university’s third party administrator, or the Employment Development Department (EDD) to determine eligibility. See the Employee Gateway’s New baby or adoption page.

Pregnancy-related disability is a 10-week paid benefit, minus a 7-day waiting period (if available, accrued sick or vacation time can be used during that 7 days). Disability is paid at the highest percentage of the base pay available in the supplemental disability plan if qualified for supplemental benefits at the time of birth. See the Employee Gateway’s Disability page.

When pregnancy disability is exhausted, the Paid Family Leave program offers 6 additional weeks of paid “bonding” time which can be used immediately following the 10-week disability period, or at any time during the baby’s first year of life, in conjunction with the CFRA leave (see above). Available accrued vacation time may also be used for unpaid periods of the CFRA leave. See the Employee Gateway’s Disability page.

Parental leave not related to employee’s pregnancy (fathers, non-birth parents)

The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) gives parents 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected parental leave in connection with the birth of a child (including through surrogacy) or adoption. This is also known as “baby bonding” leave. Eligibility for this leave may vary if an employee already took CFRA leave for another reason within the previous 12 months – employees should consult with their HR Partner.

In all cases, parental leave must conclude within one year of the qualifying birth or adoption.

To obtain parental leave, employee must provide to the university appropriate legal documentation of birth, adoption, and/or relationship to the child in the case of surrogacy.

Getting paid during parental leave not related to employee’s pregnancy

Those on parental leave also may qualify for up to 6 weeks of Paid Family Leave. (Due to state law, there is no 7-day waiting period for non-pregnancy Paid Family Leave.) Available accrued vacation time may also be used for any unpaid periods of the leave.

Adoption of a child age six or older also qualifies employee for some state benefits through Paid Family Leave; See the Employee Gateway’s new baby or adoption page. You may also contact the HR Service Center at uschr@usc.edu or (213) 821-8100 for more information.

Parental leave not related to employee’s pregnancy (adoptive parents, those becoming parents through surrogacy)

All provisions in the above sections related to fathers and non-birth parents apply. Additionally, primary caregivers of an adopted child under the age of 6, or a new baby as the result of a surrogate birth, may qualify for 10 weeks of paid leave equivalent to the current university-provided disability maternity benefit, coordinating with any available Paid Family Leave benefits.

Responsible office

Human Resources Administration
uschr@usc.edu
(213) 821-8100

Issued by

Todd R. Dickey, Senior Vice President, Administration
University of Southern California