Parental Leave

Texas A&M University employees (faculty, budgeted, student, wage) on maternity or paternity leave are, if eligible, entitled to job protection under the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). FMLA is unpaid and requires 2 entries in Workday.

Employees who have not worked for the state of Texas for at least 12 months or who have worked fewer than 1,250 hours during the 12-month period preceding the needed leave qualify for maternal/paternal leave under the state's Parental Leave Act (PLA). Maternal/paternal leave under the FMLA and PLA includes the natural birth of a child and the placement of a child for adoption or state-certified foster care.

Parental Leave Act

  • An employee is entitled to PLA benefits if they:
    • have worked for the State of Texas for less than 12 months; or
    • have worked less than 1,250 hours during the 12-month period preceding the needed leave.
  • Leave under PLA:
    • applies to the natural birth of a child, adoption, or foster care placement of a child under three years of age;
    • intermittent PLA leave that is not medically necessary as per a physician's statement is subject to the approval of the employee's supervisor; and
    • will expire 12 weeks after the date of birth, or 12 weeks after the first day the adoptive or foster child is formally placed in the employee's home.

Eligibility for paid Leave with Parental Leave

Before and After Childbirth

  • Birthing Parent:
    • Appropriate paid leave (sick, vacation, comp time, administrative leave.) will be used for doctor's appointments, prenatal visits, and medical recovery after childbirth.
    • Following the birth of the child the birthing parent will exhaust all remaining leave she has with supporting medical documentation (not to exceed 12 weeks).
    • An employee will be eligible for sick leave pool after meeting the 80 hour threshold to qualify for Sick Leave Pool.
    • If the employee doesn’t have 80 hours of their own leave they can either enter unpaid time off or get a sick leave direct donation to get them to 80 hours.
    • Medical documentation is required to determine the length of paid leave the birth Birthing Parent is allowed to use to remain in a paid status.
    • Employees are not eligible to use their 1st of the month accruals once they begin their extended leave. (Example: an employee has a baby Feb 16 and is out the until April 13.  The employee can not use their March 1 and April 1 accruals until they return to work.)
  • Non- Birthing Parent:
    • Appropriate paid leave (sick, vacation, comp time, etc.) will be used for doctor's appointments and prenatal visits.
    • At birth the non-birthing parent is allowed to use three (3) days of Sick leave; absences in excess of three days must be supported by medical documentation that indicate a serious health condition with either the spouse or child.
    • After three days of entering sick leave, the non-birthing parent should begin using vacation and once vacation is exhausted the employee will enter unpaid time off.
    • All leave entered will require a 2nd entry of Parental Leave.

Other Information

  • Sick Leave Pool hours may be available in those cases where severe illness or prolonged complications due to pregnancy or childbirth arise with respect to either the spouse or the child.
  • An employee who adopts a child younger than three years of age may use the amount of available sick leave following the adoption that would normally be granted for recovery from pregnancy and childbirth (up to six weeks).

Parental Leave Packet

Employees

  • Employees should contact your HUB HR professional if you have questions about parental leave.
  • HR Professionals will provide this packet of information below for employees who are not eligible for FMLA leave and are requesting time off for the birth/adoption/foster care placement of a child:
    1. Cover Letter to Employee (Parental Leave Letter) 
    2. Certification Form (for employee’s condition)
    3. Certification Form (for spouse or baby’s condition)

 

FMLA and Parental Leave Comparison

This chart compares the differences between FMLA leave and Parental leave.

FMLA Leave

Parental Leave

Required by

Federal law

State law

May be used for

Birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child; care of a spouse, child or parent with a serious health condition; a need for leave due to a military exigency, or the employee's own serious health condition.

Only for birth, adoption or foster care placement of a child.

Age limits on adoption or foster care placement

No age limit. (Note, however, that sick leave can only be used as part of FMLA leave if the child is younger than three years.)

Child must be younger than three years.

Eligibility requirements

Employee must have 12 months of prior state service AND have worked at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding the leave.

Employee is not eligible for FMLA. Includes student and wage employees.

How much and how often may be taken

Up to 12 weeks per fiscal year (September 1 to August 31). May be taken all at once for a single condition or in shorter increments for multiple conditions

Up to 12 weeks per fiscal year (September 1 to August 31) for birth, adoption, or foster care placement.

When it may be taken

May be taken anytime within 12 months following birth or adoption/foster care placement.

Must be taken and completed within the 12 weeks immediately following birth or adoption/foster care placement.

Relationship to paid leave

Runs concurrently with any applicable paid leave, such as vacation or sick leave

Same as FMLA


Use of compensatory time

Employee must use any available FLSA and state compensatory time before taking unpaid leave.

Employee must use any available FLSA and state compensatory time before taking unpaid leave.

Insurance coverage

State contribution toward insurance coverage continues even if employee is on unpaid leave.

Exception: If the employee is out a full calendar month, the employee will be placed on a Leave of Absence and the employee will no longer be eligible for the state contribution. The employee will be given the option to pay the full benefit amount.

State contribution does not continue if employee is on Leave of Absence for a full calendar month.

Insurance re-enrollment

Upon returning to work from a Leave of Absence, employee may re-enroll in any benefit plan that was dropped without providing evidence of good health or pre-existing condition limitations.

Same as FMLA, except that employees who re-enroll in Long-Term Disability will be subject to pre-existing condition limitations as of the reinstatement date.

Intermittent leave

Can be taken on a full-time or intermittent basis. However, use of intermittent leave for birth, adoption, or foster care placement of a child requires permission of supervisor and supporting medical documentation.

Same as FMLA.


Job protection

Employee's job is protected while on leave (assuming job would have been available otherwise).

Same as FMLA.

 

Use of paid and unpaid leave is subject to the rules and regulations of Texas A&M University. Contact your HR Professional if additional guidance is needed regarding use of Parental Leave benefits. Use of either FMLA or Parental Leave will require 2 entries in Workday.


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