Paid Parental Leave
Paid Parental Leave (PPL) is paid time off from work for eligible employees to recuperate and bond with a newborn or a newly-placed child through adoption, foster care placement, or other legal placement.
The two types of Paid Parental Leave (PPL) cover different uses of the leave. The four weeks of Paid Parental Recuperation Leave is for the birth parent to use for the disability/recuperation period following the birth of the child. The four weeks of Paid Parental Bonding Leave can be used by both parents for the bonding period associated with a newborn or placement of a child through adoption, foster care placement, or other legal placement. For this reason, the birth parent may receive up to eight weeks of PPL (four weeks of Recuperation Leave and four weeks of Bonding Leave).
Eligibility for Paid Parental Leave
So, although the four weeks of Paid Parental Recuperation Leave would not be available in this instance, the four weeks of Paid Parental Bonding Leave with the child could still be used starting on or after Jan. 13, 2020. The Bonding Leave must be used within 12 months of the qualifying event (in this example, no later than Sept. 16, 2020). If the employee used Family & Medical Leave in 2019 or Jan. 2020 for the event or used other available paid leave or leave without pay, then PPL cannot be used to go back and replace paid or unpaid leave used at that time.
No. At the time of the qualifying event (birth/placement), an employee must be an “eligible employee,” which means:
- at least half-time appointment;
- permanent, probationary, or time-limited appointment;
- worked for the State for the 12 months preceding the qualifying event (in a temporary or permanent capacity collectively); and
- worked at least 1,040 hours within the 12 months preceding the qualifying event.
In this case, the employee eligibility didn’t occur until February, but you needed to have been an eligible employee as of Oct. 1, 2019 (the time of the birth/placement) to qualify for Paid Parental Leave (PPL).
Requesting Paid Parental Leave
- Completed Family & Medical Leave Request Form (if applicable)
- Completed Paid Parental Leave Request Form
- Certification of birth or placement of a child through adoption, foster care, or other legal placement:
- Birth of a child: certification of health care provider, birth certificate or documented confirmation from hospital of delivery
- Adoption, foster care placement, or other legal placement of a child: adoption order, custody order, or letter of placement
Using Paid Parental Leave
In this case, the employee is eligible for Paid Parental Leave (PPL) only at the time of the qualifying event (the birth). There are four periods of time to review in terms of FMLA and PPL:
- Weeks 1–2: Covered by FMLA. The employee may use available leave to cover the absence (sick, vacation, bonus, comp time, etc.). This period is not covered by PPL because it occurs prior to the birth.
- Weeks 3–6: The qualifying event (birth) occurs at the beginning of Week 3. Covered by FMLA and four consecutive weeks of Paid Parental Recuperation Leave. FMLA and Recuperation Leave must run concurrently when FMLA is available.
- Weeks 7–10: Covered by FMLA. The employee may use available leave to cover the absence (sick, vacation, bonus, comp time, etc.). The employee may choose to exhaust their available Paid Parental Bonding Leave during the remaining period of disability, but is not required to do so during the remainder of the period of disability.
- Weeks 11–12: The employee may choose to use their remaining two weeks of FMLA consecutively with the previously applied FMLA (that is, a solid block of 12 weeks of FMLA) or wait to use it later (within 12 months of when they started using FMLA for the event). Once the employee chooses to use this FMLA, then the employee must also use the four consecutive weeks of Paid Parental Bonding Leave if not already used. The employee would still be allowed to use four weeks of Bonding Leave even though only two weeks of FMLA were remaining.
Length and Timing of Paid Parental Leave
The length of leave depends on whether you are the birth parent or the non-birth parent.
- Up to eight weeks for the birth parent.
- Up to four weeks for the non-birth parent.
Coordination Paid Parental Leave with Other Leave Programs
Voluntary Shared Leave (VSL) has specific eligibility rules that may allow for some portion of the absence to be eligible.
VSL cannot be used for the bonding period with a child for either parent under Paid Parental Leave (PPL or Family & Medical Leave. VSL may be used during Family & Medical Leave if the birth parent has exhausted the 4-week Paid Parental Recuperation Leave and exhausted all other available leave, but has further medical issues associated with the birth.
If VSL is being used to cover the remainder of the disability period associated with the birth, then the birth parent is not required to apply the 4-week Bonding Leave until after the available VSL has been applied. Regardless, the 4-week Recuperation Leave must be used prior to using VSL for the disability period following the birth.
Where can I learn more about Paid Parental Leave?
You can find details about your Paid Parental Leave benefits at go.unc.edu/paid-parental-leave. You can also prepare for your Paid Parental Leave by attending a Planning for Parental Leave course. More information available at hr.unc.edu/training/catalog.