April 15, 2016

Parental leave policy moving through final reviews

Written by

babyhandA parental leave policy, endorsed and supported by UAB administration in fall 2015, is moving through the final review process and is on track to meet its July 1 implementation date.

Specific policy language developed by the parental leave committee now is being reviewed by the university’s compliance office, and it is expected to be presented to the Faculty Policies and Procedures Committee by April 22, according to UAB’s Chief Human Resource Officer Alesia Jones.

“There are many moving parts when implementing an expansion of benefits that range from policy development to public review and comment to the technicalities of modifying leave request and tracking forms and payroll processing,” Jones said. “The groups involved are eager for UAB to help set the standard for paid parental leave and are working in earnest to ensure our policy and procedures are the best possible and delivered on time.”

Under the new policy, employees who qualify for the Family and Medical Leave of Absence Policy are eligible for up to four work weeks of paid parental leave following the birth or adoption of a child. This benefit will extend to all eligible employees within UAB, UAB Hospital, UAHSF, UAB Health System and Callahan Eye Hospital. Up to 12 weeks of FMLA-protected leave already is available for employees who have been employed for one year and have worked at least 1,250 hours during the previous 12 months; the new paid parental leave is included in the 12-week allowance.

Areas that technically and functionally support leave tracking, approval and maintenance require modifications to accommodate the new leave policy, and UAB IT is providing technical support to implement those changes needed for data and electronic processing. 

As soon as final reviews and any needed revisions are complete, the policy will be posted in UAB’s Policies and Procedures Library and FAQs will be posted on the Human Resources website.

Only 11-12 percent of U.S. workers have access to paid parental leave through their employer, according to the 2013 National Compensation Survey and a 2015 report by Center for American Progress. Among the nation’s universities, the number is not much higher, but it is gaining traction. A 2004 survey by the University of Virginia identified only 18 percent of colleges and universities offer a gender-neutral, paid parental leave.