Help in Planning a Medical or Parental Leave

For Civil Service & Labor Represented Staff

If you need to take time off for a parental or medical leave, it’s important to plan as much as possible so you can focus on you or your family member’s health and wellbeing. This tool is intended to help you plan time off for a parental or medical leave and it includes checklists to help you ask the right questions and get the answers you need to avoid surprises. 

You’ll need to read the policies and work with your supervisor and department human resources staff to ensure that you understand your leave and any impacts on related benefits. 

The information in this resource summarizes the application of policy and rules, it does not replace the policies. Please consult the actual policies.

Policies and Resources

  • Civil Service rules or union contracts provide leave rules and guidelines about benefits, time off, and employee rights specific to your role at the University. 
  • Parental Leave Policy. Eligible employees may take six weeks paid leave related to the birth, adoption, or gestational surrogacy of a child. The parental leave will begin at a time requested by the employee, but not more than two weeks prior to the due date or adoption event, and no later than thirteen weeks after the birth or adoption event. [Note: because of this flexibility, parental leave can be used following a medical leave or other leave for which the employee is eligible.]
  • Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that provides job protection and benefits coverage to eligible employees.
  • Vacation Time Policy. Vacation leave is paid time off of work for personal activities. 
  • Unpaid Personal Leave. Unpaid leave is any time away from work where you are not receiving pay. Please consult with your supervisor before taking any unpaid leave. 
  • Short Term Disability Coverage. Short term disability provides income replacement benefits if you are unable to work due to an injury, sickness, or pregnancy that results in your continuous disability for up to 180 days. It is an optional product offered by the University and provided by Unum. 
  • Long Term Disability Coverage. This coverage provides income replacement benefits if you are unable to work for over 180 days due to an injury, sickness, or pregnancy. It is an optional coverage plan offered by the University, provided by Unum. 
  • Sick Leave. Sick leave is accrued paid time away from work that can be used to care for your own health and wellness, or for that of a dependent or immediate family member. This can include time at home to recover from illness or medical appointments. Go into the MyU portal and select “My Time” to check your balance of sick leave hours, and to request time off.
  • Vacation Donation Policy. The University permits civil service and union-represented employees to donate earned paid vacation to other employees within those groups to be used in cases of serious medical hardship or catastrophic illness or injury.

Plan for Your Leave Time

Step 1: Check the policies and contracts that apply to your leave. See the policies and resources links, above.

Step 2: Check on Family Medical Leave Act Eligibility. 
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees to take job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons with continuation of group health insurance coverage at the same employee premium as if the employee had not taken leave. 

Employees need to have been paid for at least 1,250 hours in the 12 months preceding commencement of leave and worked at the University for at least 12 months. 

Note: FMLA leave doesn’t provide paid time off, but you can be paid during an FMLA leave if you’re entitled to be paid under other leave benefits (such as parental leave, academic medical leave, etc.)

Use the FMLA Checklist from OHR to help you plan your FMLA-eligible leave. 

⃞    I am not eligible for FMLA for this leave. 

⃞    I am eligible for FMLA for this leave. 

Step 3: Understand what paid and unpaid leave options are available to you.

Leave Time Available time for my leave Hours I plan to use
Sick leave (paid time)
Vacation (paid time)
Comp hours (paid time)
Personal Leave (unpaid)
Parental (paid time)
Total Leave Hours

Copy and paste these tables into a blank document to fill in.

Understand Employee Benefits Costs During Your Leave

Determine how your medical, dental, and other benefits coverage will be impacted while you’re not working. Rates per pay period are available in the plan documents and webpages for each benefit (medical rates, dental rates, etc). 

Type of Leave                   FMLA?           Does this impact my benefits? How?
Paid Leaves:
  • Parental Leave
  • Sick Time
  • Comp Time
  • Vacation Time
Yes or No

No: my benefits (medical, dental, etc.) will be paid through biweekly paycheck deductions at the same rate as they are now

Unpaid Leave:  Yes

Yes: My leave is unpaid--I will need to pay for my benefits costs (medical, dental, etc.) at my current biweekly rate

  • Total cost of my biweekly benefits: __________ per pay period
Unpaid Leave:  No

Yes: My leave is unpaid--I will need to pay the full cost for my benefits (University portion + my biweekly rate for medical, dental, etc.)

  • Total cost of my biweekly benefits: __________ per pay period
Unpaid Leave: Yes or No Yes: I have decided to waive my benefits during my leave and will do so by emailing OHR (benefits@umn.edu).

Note: If you plan to take a combination of paid and unpaid time away to cover your medical or parental leave, you will need to be prepared to pay for the additional costs for the employee and University portion of the biweekly rates during the unpaid portion of time.

Assess Your Disability Leave Options

Step 1: See if your leave qualifies for Voluntary Short Term or Long Term Disability Leave.
Check to see if you are enrolled and eligible for these two leaves by going to MyU and clicking “My Benefits.” 

   I don’t plan to use Voluntary Short Term or Long Term Disability on this leave (either because I’m not enrolled in this benefit or it’s not applicable to my leave). 

Step 2: Plan your Disability Leave time.

  • I will apply to use Voluntary Short Term Disability, I am aware of rules that apply to this policy
    • Filing a claim for Short Term Disability for the following dates: ______through _______
    • Current Short Term Disability monthly election amount: $ _______
  • I will apply to use Voluntary Long Term Disability, I am aware of rules that apply to this policy
    • Filing a claim for Long Term Disability for the following dates: ______through _______
    • Current Long Term Disability monthly election amount: $ _______

Step 3: File a claim for any disability coverage by calling Unum at 1-800-986-3239.

Get Ready: Set Up Your Leave and Have a Contact Plan

Step 1: Meet with your HR representative to review and verify. 

Step 2: Meet with your supervisor to discuss your leave and bring this checklist. 

Step 3: Plan to keep in contact with your supervisor and colleagues

  • How to reach out to my supervisor while I’m away ______________________________. 
  • They can contact me via _______________________________________________.
  • Review any projects or work that may come up while I’m out with my supervisor and colleagues.

Step 4: Update your plan if needed.
Parental and medical leaves plans may need to change based on your health and recovery. If you encounter issues that require you to extend your leave, contact ______________________________. 

Returning to Work 

Step 1: Prepare to return to work

  • Received a written “return to work” note from my doctor, if applicable. 
  • Check with my supervisor or unit leaders to be sure my department entered my return date accurately. 
  • Check my pay stub to be sure my benefits were reactivated accurately, if applicable. 

Step 2: Parental Leave: Tips before returning 

  • Within 30 days: Add my child (or other new family member) to my medical, dental, and other insurance or benefit plan(s) within 30 days of the birth or adoption, if applicable. 
    • Life Event (family status change): A life event that allows you to make a change in your benefits coverage outside the Open Enrollment period. Examples include adding coverage for a new spouse or baby, or removing coverage for a former spouse after a divorce. Remember that you must make a request within 30 days of the date the change happened. 
    • See Change in Family Coverage resources
  • Know where the lactation room is in my work area and its scheduling procedures, if applicable.

Questions? OHR is Here to Help

The Office of Human Resources Contact Center can answer your questions about taking leaves and using your UPlan benefits. Email benefits@umn.edu or call a representative at 612-624-8647 or 800-756-2363.