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Paid Parental Leave FAQs

General Questions

What is the purpose of paid parental leave?

Paid parental leave is designed to support parents in taking the time they need to bond with a child upon birth or adoption.

When can I take paid parental leave?

You can take up to 6 weeks of paid leave at any time during the first 12 weeks following the birth or adoption of a child. The 6 weeks need not be continuous as long as all the time falls within the 12-week period.

The Family Medical Leave Act allows me 12 weeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, and to apply earned vacation and sick time during FML. Can I use paid parental leave to extend that time?

No, paid parental leave is designed to run concurrently with Family and Medical Leave, not to extend the FML leave period. Employees who wish to extend their leave beyond the allotted 12 weeks of FML may request additional personal leave time and apply earned vacation, sick, or compensatory time in accordance with University policies.

Will my benefits or employment status be affected if I take paid parental leave?

No, you remain on full pay status during approved parental leave. The University will continue to pay the employer portions of your elected benefits, and you remain responsible for the employee portion. You will continue to earn service credit and UA retirement contributions as normal. Vacation and sick time accruals also continue.

In addition to paid parental leave, tenure-eligible or continuing-eligible faculty may request a promotion clock delay based on the birth or adoption of a child.

I have purchased short-term disability insurance that pays benefits following the birth/adoption of a child. Can I still receive paid parental leave?

Yes. Disability insurance coverage will not affect paid parental leave.

Can I work part-time during parental leave?

As long as you complete your leave within the 12-week period, and you and your department negotiate a mutually agreeable work schedule, you may flex your leave by working part-time through any or all of the period. Any flexible work arrangement must be approved by the department and recorded on the Request for Paid Parental Leave form in advance of the leave commencing.

I am adopting an older child, not an infant. Can I take parental leave?

Yes, the benefit applies to adoption of any child up to the age of 18.

What are the limitations on paid parental leave?

  1. You must have been employed at the University as a regular employee eligible for full benefits (University, Arizona Department of Administration, and Arizona Board of Regents sponsored benefits), for at least 12 continuous months immediately prior to the beginning of the leave. Prior employment as a student worker, graduate assistant, or ancillary employee does not apply toward this requirement. If you are an employee on a nine-month work schedule, the summer months between academic years count toward the 12-month requirement, as long as you are working in the academic years before and after the summer.
  2. You may take no more than one paid parental leave within a 12-month period, counted from the ending date of the previous leave. 
  3. If you do not return to work for at least 30 days following your approved leave, you agree to reimburse the University for the salary and benefits the University paid on your behalf during the leave period. Available sick or vacation accruals will be applied toward this repayment. The repayment requirement may be waived in the event that a serious health condition (affecting the parent or child) precludes returning to work. The requirement is also waived if you are involuntarily terminated or your contract is not renewed.
  4. You may not take paid parental leave if you are taking custody of a child in any capacity short of legal adoption.

I am unable to fulfill the 30-day return-to-work requirement. How do I reimburse the University for my paid parental leave?

Payroll will first apply your available sick leave accruals toward the repayment. If a balance for the repayment remains, available vacation leave accruals will also be applied. Payroll will notify you of any additional amounts owed following the application of your sick and vacation accruals.

I am returning to work from paid parental leave at a lower FTE. Am I obligated to work for more than 30 days to fulfill the return-to-work requirement?

No, you are only required to return for 30 days at your new FTE.

I am on an academic-year schedule, is my leave entitlement reduced?

No, academic-year appointees are eligible to receive a prorated amount of paid parental leave for any portion of the six-week leave period that occurs in the academic year. In addition, the summer months between academic years count toward the 12-month eligibility requirement, as long as you are working in the academic years before and after the summer. You are not eligible for paid parental leave while you are on a work break during the summer.

If I give birth to or adopt more than one child, would I be eligible for more than six weeks of paid parental leave?

No, each fully benefits-eligible employee may take one paid parental leave in a 12-month period. The birth or adoption of multiple children does not increase the length of leave approved for that event.

If I get married and adopt my new spouse’s children, am I eligible for paid parental leave?

No. The paid parental leave benefit is not available in this circumstance.

My spouse/partner also works at UA. Can I donate my paid parental leave so that he/she can have additional paid parental leave?

No, paid parental time cannot be donated.

My spouse and I are both employed at the University of Arizona. If my spouse utilizes the full 12 weeks of Family and Medical Leave (FML), leaving me no available FML hours, am I still entitled to take six weeks of Paid Parental Leave?

Yes. All fully benefits-eligible UA employees may take 6 weeks of paid parental leave, with or without FML. If an employee wishes to combine FML with Paid Parental Leave, then the total maximum leave time is 12 weeks.

I am a postdoctoral scholar or clinical resident. Am I eligible for the paid parental leave?

Yes, postdoctoral scholars and clinical residents expected to work at a .50 FTE or greater for 6 months or longer are considered eligible for full benefits, and therefore are eligible for the paid parental leave.

I am a graduate teaching assistant or research assistant/associate. Am I eligible for paid parental leave?

The Graduate College has its own parental leave policy. Information about parental leave for graduate students is available at the Graduate College website:

How do I apply for the benefit?

  1. Fill out the Request for Paid Parental Leave form and have your supervisor sign it. To support departmental planning, please complete the form at least 60 days in advance of a planned leave, unless extenuating circumstances make it impossible to do so.
  2. If you wish to flex your leave time, discuss with your supervisor your proposed schedule and whether it can be accommodated given your job functions. Enter the agreement reached on the form.
  3. Submit the form to your department Human Resources representative or business manager.
  4. Work with your department to create a leave plan to cover essential functions during your absence.

Who should I contact if I have questions about the Paid Parental Leave Benefit?

If you have any questions about the Paid Parental Leave Benefit, please do not hesitate to contact the Division of Human Resources. You may reach us at or (520) 621-3660.

How do I code the time taken as paid parental leave?

Time reporting codes are available for use in UAccess Employee as of July 1, 2014. Fully benefits-eligible employees should see these codes on their drop-downs in UAccess Employee.

Any portion of the paid parental leave that runs concurrently with Family Medical Leave should be coded using the –FML extension to ensure that Family Medical Leave balances are accurately tracked. Use the PLP/PLE code when no Family Medical Leave is being used.

For positive time reporters (i.e., who report all hours worked):

PLP—Paid Parental Leave—Positive

FPLP—FML Paid Parental Leave—Positive

For exempt employees (i.e., who report only time away from work):

PLE—Paid Parental Leave—Exception

FPLE—FML Paid Parental Leave—Exception

What happens if a holiday falls during a paid parental leave?

That day is recorded as a paid holiday, either FML holiday (FMHE/FMHP) if the employee is taking simultaneous family medical leave, or regular holiday (HLE/HLP) if the employee is on paid parental leave only. The three holidays during winter closure are always coded as regular holiday days (HLE/HLP). These holidays do not extend the paid parental leave period.

What happens if an employee is on paid parental leave during winter closure?

The three holidays (two for Christmas and one for New Year’s Day) are recorded as regular paid holidays, even if the employee is taking simultaneous family medical leave. These holidays do not extend paid parental leave. The non-holiday winter closure days are recorded using the University Closure code. These days do extend paid parental leave because the University is officially closed during this time.

Do departments pay for the parental leave?

Yes. Departments are responsible for paying for this time.

An employee has submitted a Request for Paid Parental Leave form to my department. How do I process the request?

Because the policy is being managed and financed at the departmental level, all documentation should be retained at the departmental level. On return to work, the employee is asked to produce documentation of the birth or adoption. The person retaining the Request for Parental Leave form should view and return the documents, initialing and dating the form as verification. It is not necessary nor advisable for the department to keep a copy of confidential documentation. In rare cases the employee’s name may not appear on the birth certificate (e.g., in the case of a same-sex couple). The department may accept the employee’s ability to produce the documentation as evidence of co-parenting. Should questions arise in a specific case, please contact the Division of Human Resources at or (520) 621-3660.

I am legally adopting an child and have physical custody pending finalization of the adoption. When can I begin Parental Leave?

You may commence parental leave at any point after you assume physical custody, provided you have documentation that adoption is in process. You still can take only 6 weeks of time off, spread over no more than 12 weeks (if you choose intermittent leave). 

An employee on parental leave has notified my department of intent not to return to work following the leave. What do I do?

The Parental Leave Policy requires employees to agree to return to work for at least 30 days after their approved leave or reimburse the University for salary and benefits paid out during the leave period. If an employee notifies your department of intent not to return following the leave, he or she is considered in an overpayment status for the time paid as Parental Leave. The Financial Services Office has information on Paid Parental Leave repayment at 

Encourage the employee to submit a letter of resignation as soon as possible upon making the decision, in order that a termination can be processed immediately, ending the paid parental leave.

In order to recover the monies owed to the University please follow these steps:

  1. Contact Payroll Operations immediately via an e-mail to
  2. In the e-mail please indicate the following:
    1. Employee’s Name
    2. Employee’s ID
    3. The time frame when he or she was paid parental leave and a brief explanation that the employee did not meet the 30-day requirement and needs to repay the monies paid out as Parental Leave
    4. Whether or not you have spoken to the employee
    5. Attach a copy of the employee’s signed Request for Parental Leave Form

If you have any questions, please contact Payroll at (520) 621-9097.

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