A guide to benefits and leave available to new and expectant parents at UVA

Planning for Becoming a Parent


If you are anticipating the birth or arrival of a child through adoption, foster care placement, or legal guardianship, this information will introduce you to some important University policies that can help you plan for this significant change in your life.

For UPG employees, information about leave and benefit programs can be found on the UPG Benefits webpage.

Benefits available to new or expectant parents

We want our employees to be happy, healthy, and have peace of mind. Our generous benefits package allows you to focus on what's important. UVA has some specific benefits available to employees who are new or expectant parents.

Below are benefits specifically related to the addition of a new child; please visit the HR Benefits webpage in order to view additional benefits.

  • Hoos Well and UVA Health Plan

    Hoos Well offers beneficial services for you and your spouse on the UVA Health Plan who are expecting. Through Aetna, you can receive prenatal and newborn educational materials, as well as $100 in your paycheck for participating in the Maternity Management Program before the 16th week of pregnancy. UVA Health Plan participants are also offered two free visits with a registered dietitian at Northridge Nutrition Counseling Center for help in nourishing yourself during and after pregnancy.

    UVA supports all employees who are nursing mothers. Read more about nursing resources as a UVA employee, and view the current list of nursing mothers' room locations.

    To learn more about the resources available, please visit the Hoos Well Well-Being in Maternity webpage.

    Expenses for having a baby are often a big concern for expecting parents. The HR Medical Scenarios webpage offers several common medical scenarios and their estimated costs, including having a baby. 

  • Health Plan Qualified Life Event

    Making changes to your benefits package is usually reserved for Open Enrollment, but dependent changes qualify for changes during the plan year.

    Dependent changes include adding a child (or children) from birth or adoption to UVA benefit plans. If you are planning to add a new child to your UVA benefit plans, you need to do so within 30 days of the child’s date of birth or placement. This change can be in made Workday.

    You may also either sign up or increase your contributions to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA), Dependent Care FSA, or Limited FSA during a qualified life event when a new child joins your family.

    • The Flexible Spending Accounts and the Limited Flexible Spending Accounts set aside pre-tax income for certain medical costs.
    • The Dependent Daycare Reimbursement Flexible Spending Accounts set aside pre-tax income for dependent/child daycare expenses.
    • Employees on the Basic Health care plan may open or add to the Limited Flexible Spending Account or the Dependent Daycare Flexible Spending Account.

    More information about the available Flexible Spending Accounts can be found under the Benefits Savings Account section of the HR website. The brochure regarding the FSA plans from Chard Snyder, UVA’s FSA vendor, also provides a useful overview of these accounts.

  • Dental Plan Benefits

    UVA dental coverage through United Concordia has a benefit with additional coverage under “Smile for Health® Maternity Benefit” which provides coverage for an additional cleaning and periodontal services for women during their pregnancy. Extra oral care during pregnancy helps prevent pregnancy gingivitis—a mild form of gum disease resulting from changes in the body’s hormone levels.

  • Dependent Care Benefits

    There are few things more important than taking care of our loved ones. UVA agrees, and has made providing dependent care resources, options, and financial support to employees a primary goal.

    Employees may need full-time childcare, short-term back-up care for a loved one, or during these challenging times, extra support for schoolwork. These scenarios are addressed on the Dependent Care webpage with services for:

    • Ongoing Care
    • Short-term & Back-Up Care
    • School & Tutoring Support

    Choose from in-home or facility-based care, or source your own dependent care providers and get reimbursed. All options are offered to UVA benefits eligible employees, and Bright Horizons Back-up Care is offered at discounted rates.

Leave options for new or expectant parents

UVA offers many options for paid or unpaid leave to help you maintain a healthy work/life balance. This includes time to recover from childbirth and bond with a new member of the family.

Details of each leave type and applicable policy information are found in the sections below. You should first determine your employee category in order to navigate the leave options available to you. See also the FAQs at the bottom of the page for additional information about options related your needs.

Leave process
  • Contact the vendor 30 days in advance of planned absence/expected delivery date. 

  • Notify your supervisor 30 days in advance of planned absence/expected delivery date.

  • Duration of leave may vary depending on associated medical condition.

Short Term Disability
  • Requires Medical Condition such as birth of a child or complications pre/post delivery.

  • Typically approved from 6 to 8 weeks for birth of a child, including STD elimination/waiting period.

  • See Disability Benefits page for benefit details and eligibility information. 

  • To supplement benefits below 100%  of salary, send request to leave@virginia.edu.

Parental Leave options
  • Academic Staff & Med Center Team members may be eligible for up to 8 weeks of Paid Leave. Must be used consecutively & within 6 months of the birth of a child. See details about eligibility under the Paid Parental Leave section below. 

  • Classified Staff may be eligible for up to 8 weeks of Paid Leave. Must be used  within 6 months of the birth of a child. Can be taken Intermittently with approved schedule. Classified Staff eligible for up to 8 weeks of Paid Leave. Must be used  within 6 months of the birth of a child. Can be taken Intermittently with approved schedule.

  • Faculty may be eligible for between 8 & 16 weeks of leave. See Provost Site for additional information.

  • For eligibility details see the section below on Parental Leave by employee classification. 

Additional information
  • If eligible, FMLA would run concurrently with Short Term Disability or Parental Leave benefits. FMLA is available for up to 12 weeks per year on a rolling basis so it may exhaust prior to the end of the leave of absence. 

  • Please contact the UVA Human Resources Solutions Center by emailing AskHR@virginia.edu or calling 434.243.3344 for additional questions regarding your leave options. 

 

  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

    The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides up to 12 weeks of job protected, unpaid leave on a rolling calendar basis for you, if you have worked in the UVA Academic Division or UVA Medical Center for at least 12 months prior to the start of the leave date, and 1,250 hours in the 12 months immediately preceding the leave start date. This leave can be utilized for a serious health condition (including pregnancy) or to bond with a new child.

    To receive pay while on FMLA, you may utilize your own paid time off, Paid Parental Leave, or Short-Term Disability, if these paid benefits are available.

    To determine your eligibility for FMLA and apply for the leave, contact UNUM at 866.269.0979.

    FMLA can be utilized on a continuous or intermittent basis. See the FAQ section for further details of when Intermittent FMLA may apply. 

    For more details about FMLA, including the tracking of Intermittent FMLA, please see the FMLA section of the website. 

    HR FMLA overview
  • Paid Parental Leave

    Paid Parental Leave for staff offers up to 8 weeks of job protected, paid leave for parents who are employed with UVA. Faculty have additional options. As part of UVA’s comprehensive benefits package, this benefit provides time for eligible UVA employees to bond with their child within the first six months of birth, adoption, or legal placement.

    If both parents work at UVA and are eligible, they each may use the UVA Paid Parental Leave benefit at the full duration per parent. All eligible UVA employees may approved for 100% of their salary for up to a full eight (8) weeks. Pay is through the normal pay cycle. Funding is paid through departmental budgets.

    Eligibility for Paid Parental Leave may vary according to employee classification. See the below linked policies for additional information.

    UVA Paid Parental Leave may be used only once per child and only once within a 12-month period. Unused parental leave is forfeited.

    Policy information and how to apply for Paid Parental Leave

    Options and scenarios can be found in the FAQ section below.

  • Short-Term Disability

    Short-Term Disability benefits prior to or following the birth of a child are available to benefited Academic Division staff and Medical Center team members, Faculty Members, and Professional Research Staff, based on their length of service or classification.

    Short Term Disability options:

    • Academic Division VRS Retirement Plan employees have access to disability benefits after at least 12 months of service in a benefited position associated with the Virginia Sickness & Disability Plan (VSDP). This does not apply to Medical Center team members in the VRS retirement plan. To initiate a Short-Term Disability claim under this plan, contact The Reed Group at 877.928.7021.

    • ORP Retirement Plan employees have access to disability benefits immediately upon starting in a benefited position with this retirement plan. To initiate a Short-Term Disability claim under this plan, contact UNUM at 866.269.0979.

    • Medical Center Team Members have access to a Short-Term Disability benefit after six months of employment in a benefited position. To initiate a Short-Term Disability claim under this plan, contact UNUM at 866.269.0979.

    Further details of these plans can be found on the Disability Benefit section of the HR website.

    Options and scenarios can be found in the FAQ section below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • There are multiple options for my leave of absence; how do these options work together?

    Birth parent options, if eligible:
    • Parental Leave with FMLA for duration of Parental Leave benefit or Parental Leave followed by remaining FMLA balance that would require pay via your own paid time off or taken as unpaid leave. Note that Med Center team members are required to use PTO for periods of FMLA only outside of the Short Term Disability elimination period.

    • Short Term Disability followed by Parental Leave or you may delay the Parental Leave for up to 6 months after the birth of a child. 

    • If a parent becomes eligible for Parental Leave after the birth of their child, they may still take the leave if it is within 6 months of the birth of the child

    • If a parent becomes eligible for FMLA after the birth of their child, they may still take the leave if it is within 12 months of the birth of a child

    Non birth parent options, if eligible:
    • Parental Leave with FMLA for duration of Parental Leave benefit or Parental Leave followed by remaining FMLA balance that would require pay via your own paid time off or taken as unpaid leave. Note that Med Center team members are required to use PTO for periods of FMLA only.

    • Intermittent child bonding leave may require departmental approval. Paid Parental Leave for Medical Center and University staff is unavailable on an intermittent basis. 

    • If a parent becomes eligible for Parental Leave after the birth of their child, they may still take the leave if it is within 6 months of the birth of the child

    • If a parent becomes eligible for FMLA after the birth of their child, they may still take the leave if it is within 12 months of the birth of a child

  • What are my options if I'm ineligible for or have exhausted FMLA, Parental Leave, or Short Term Disability?

    Medical Center Team Members

    • Birth parents may contact UNUM to apply for Medical Leave of Absence. This leave option is available on a continuous basis to team members who are ineligible for FMLA but have a serious health condition prior to or after delivery of a child.

    • While this leave option does not provide job protection like FMLA or Paid Parental Leave, there might be other protections (see Virginia code 2.2-3909) related to pregnancy and birth of a child that may address this period of absence. Typically, Medical Leave after the birth of a child is approved for six to eight weeks depending on the delivery type. To apply for Medical Leave, contact UNUM at 866.269.0979.

    • Medical Center team members who are not a birth parent, or for birth parents seeking additional time off after the birth of a child, you may apply for Personal Leave of Absence through your department. Personal Leave is approved by your supervisor and subject to staffing needs. This leave does not provide job protection; however, due to staffing needs a manager may approve the leave on a conditional or unconditional basis.

    • The Personal Leave request form can be found via the following link: Personal Leave Request Form.

    Classified Staff and University Staff

    • Contact UNUM to determine your eligibility for a medically related absence. If leave time is needed for employees who do not qualify for FMLA or Short-Term Disability, arrangements may be made with the department. If the department or the employee has additional questions about these options, contact leave@virginia.edu.

  • How do I receive pay while on leave?

    During an absence with no paid benefit (FMLA, Medical Leave, or Personal Leave)

    • If you are approved for a leave of absence, notify your supervisor if you wish to use your own paid time off for any unpaid period during your leave of absence or prior to the approval of any paid benefits, so your manager can enter that time into the respective system (Kronos or Workday).

    During an absence with a paid benefit (Short-Term Disability, Paid Parental Leave)

    • If you are approved for Short-Term Disability, notify your supervisor if you wish to use your own paid time off for any waiting or elimination period before your STD benefits begin, so that your manager can enter that time into the respective system (Kronos or Workday).

    • If you are approved for Short-Term Disability and your benefits will be paid at less than 100% of your income, notify the HR Leave team if you wish to supplement your STD pay with your own paid time off, by emailing leave@virginia.edu.

    • If you are unsure about your disability benefit pay percentage, further details of these plans can be found on the Disability Benefit webpage of the HR website.

    • If you are approved for Short-Term Disability or Paid Parental Leave, the Leave Team will enter a leave status into Workday that will drive your pay for those periods. This is for both Academic division employees and Medical Center team members. 

    • Pay for Short-Term Disability and Paid Parental Leave will follow the regular pay schedule and method of payment. If any benefit approvals are received retroactively, your pay will be applied to your next paycheck. 

    You will not need to submit a timecard during your approved absence period with the exception of any hours worked in the period preceding the start of your leave of absence.

     

  • Will I continue to accrue paid time off while on a leave of absence?

    Medical Center team members will continue to accrue PTO for 4 full pay periods while on a paid leave of absence. After 4 full pay periods on leave, PTO accruals will be suspended until you return to work. Team members will not accrue PTO while on unpaid leave.

    Classified staff will continue to accrue Annual Time Off for 90 days while on a paid leave of absence. After 90 days, accruals will be suspended until you have returned to work. Classified staff will not accrue any Annual Time Off for any pay period that includes unpaid leave.

    University staff will continue to accrue University Staff Time Off while on an approved leave of absence status.

  • Will my benefits continue while on a leave of absence?

    Benefits will continue during your leave of absence unless you request to waive benefits for a period of unpaid absence.

    If you are on any period of Leave Without Pay (LWOP), you will owe the premiums for your benefits. For unpaid absences less than sixty days, benefits will be held in arrears and taken from the next check where pay is received. For unpaid absences over 60 days, employees will receive an invoice for premiums due.

  • I need to take time off during my pregnancy due to a related medical condition; what are my options?

    Contact UNUM (866.269.0979) and the appropriate disability provider to file for leave if additional time away from work is needed due to pregnancy complications. If you are eligible for FMLA leave, you may be eligible for intermittent FMLA leave due to pregnancy-related illness/appointments.

    If you are ineligible for FMLA or another absence type required due to pregnancy complications, please reach out to Employee Relations to determine if any other accommodations are available under the Virginia Values act. See the next question for additional information on that act.

  • I need accommodations to perform my duties during or after my pregnancy; what are my options?

    Per Virginia code 2.2-3909, the University of Virginia does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical issues. You may have a right to reasonable accommodation for known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical issues. Reach out to your supervisor or Employee Relations if you have limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical issues for which you seek an accommodation. You may be entitled to an interactive process to determine whether a specific accommodation is reasonable.

    Under the law, reasonable accommodations may include:

    • More frequent or longer bathroom breaks
    • Breaks to express breast milk
    • Access to a private location other than a bathroom for the expression of breast milk
    • Acquisition or modification of equipment or access to or modification of employee seating
    • A temporary transfer to a less strenuous or hazardous position
    • Assistance with manual labor
    • Job restructuring
    • A modified work schedule
    • Light duty assignment
    • Leave to recover from childbirth
  • I need to take time off intermittently after the birth or placement of my child; what are my options?

    If you need time off intermittently due to a serious health condition for yourself or your spouse or child after delivery, contact Unum to determine your eligibility for FMLA.

    After the birth of a child, if you would like to take FMLA leave for bonding, discuss your needs for intermittent leave with your manager. You may request to take FMLA leave for bonding on an intermittent basis, but only with departmental approval. UNUM will still need to determine if you are eligible or if your request qualifies for FMLA bonding. 

    University Staff and Medical Center employees may not take the Paid Parental Leave benefit intermittently. Eligible employees may take up to 8 weeks of Paid Parental Leave consecutively. Once you return to work, any remaining Paid Parental Leave time is forfeited.

    For details regarding tracking of intermittent FMLA, please refer to the FMLA section of the site. 

  • My partner or family member's child has been placed with me. What are my options for a leave of absence to bond with the child or take time off to attend to finalizing the legal process?

    FMLA leave for bonding and the Paid Parental Leave benefits are only available for newly placed children.

    FMLA leave allows an eligible employee to take up to twelve weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave to bond with a newborn or newly placed child. You may request FMLA leave for bonding with a child who has been newly placed with you within twelve months of placement. If the child was placed with you prior to a legal placement or relationship, you would still only have twelve months from the date of the original placement to request to take FMLA time for bonding.

    • In the case of adoption, FMLA does allow time off for appointments such as court hearings for the placement process. This is separate from the bonding period after placement of a child. 

    • Bonding may only be used once per child and only after legal placement occurs. 

    The Paid Parental Leave benefit allows eligible employees to take up to eight weeks of paid, job protected leave, to bond with a newborn or newly placed child within 6 months of the birth or placement of the child. If the child was placed with you prior to a legal placement or relationship, you would still only have six months from the date of the original placement to request to take Paid Parental Leave time for bonding.

    • Bonding may only be used once per child and only after legal placement occurs. 

    For example, if you adopt a stepchild, but the adoption occurs after the child has resided with you for 12 months, you wouldn’t be eligible to take FMLA leave or Paid Parental Leave for bonding with the child.

  • I am an Academic division or Medical Center employee adopting a child and may need leave prior to placement, what are my options?

    FMLA

    • Per the Department of Labor FMLA fact sheet, "FMLA leave may be taken before the actual placement or adoption of a child if an absence from work is required for the placement for adoption or foster care to proceed. For example, the employee may be entitled to FMLA leave to attend counseling sessions, appear in court, consult with his or her attorney or the birth parent’s representative, submit to a physical examination, or travel to another country to complete an adoption before the actual date of placement."

    • You would need to let your supervisor know as far in advance as possible for the need for leave and contact UNUM to apply for FMLA.

    • If you are approved for intermittent FMLA through UNUM you'll need to report any absences to your department according to call out procedures and report time missed within 7 days of using it to UNUM for approval of the specific date and time.

    Parental Leave

    • Parental Leave cannot be taken until the child is placed. 

    • University Staff and Medical Center team members need to contact UNUM to apply for Paid Parental Leave. 

    • Classified staff complete the request Parental Leave form and return it to the leave team. Faculty and PRS may contact their department for Parental Leave.

    • Parental Leave must be taken consecutively and provides up to 8 weeks of paid leave for Academic Staff and Medical Center team members.

    For tracking intermittent FMLA, please see the FMLA section of the website. 

  • I have suffered the loss of a child, are there any leave or support options available?

    There may be difficulties related to your pregnancy including miscarriage, loss of a child shortly after birth, or a child with medical needs after birth. UVA has attempted to assist parents in these circumstances by providing leave options related to these unfortunate events. Details are included in the various policies.

    FEAP may provide options related to your mental and emotional well being when faced with these circumstances. 

    For health benefit guidance, you or your loved one may also reach out to Aetna

    Please don't hesitate to reach out Human Resources in these circumstances. Your manager or partner may also reach out on your behalf for guidance.

    askhr@virginia.edu

    434.243.3344