General information for 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).

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No. You will remain in a paid status and your coverage for any benefits that you are enrolled in will remain the same. You will continue to earn retirement service credit and your contributions will not be affected by PPL.
You get 100 percent of your regular pay during an approved Paid Parental Leave.
The Paid Parental Recuperation Leave is applied only to the birth parent for their recovery from the birth. The other parent does not have the same medical necessity for recovery as the birth parent and so is not eligible for Recuperation Leave.
No. Once an employee has received approval and has begun to take Paid Parental Leave, management cannot revoke approval based on staffing issues.
The employee is not eligible to use Paid Parental Leave (PPL) while employed by a non-participating institution. Employees who are eligible for PPL and transfer to a non-participating agency will have their PPL eligibility frozen until the expiration of their 12-month period. If the employee returns to a participating agency/university before the end of their 12-month eligibility period, they may resume the use of PPL so long as they complete usage by the end date of eligibility.
Paid Parental Leave (PPL) is not paid out if it is not used. If an employee leaves State employment, their eligibility for PPL ends.
No. A multiple birth is considered one qualifying event, and the same leave is provided. Parents do not receive PPL for each child born in a multiple birth event.

Eligibility for Paid Parental Leave

Full-time or part-time (working at least 20 hours per week) SHRA and EHRA Non-Faculty employees in a permanent, probationary, or time-limited (benefits-eligible) position. Please contact the Benefits & Leave Administration unit in the Office of Human Resources at 919-962-3071 or leave@unc.edu for additional questions.
Permanent Fixed Term and Tenured/Tenure Track EHRA Faculty on a 9 or 12-month appointment who are eligible to participate in the Teachers’ and State Employees’ Retirement System or the UNC Optional Retirement Program [i.e., continuing faculty who are employed at least 75% of full-time] are eligible for the Faculty Serious Illness & Disability Leave program, which provides a comparable benefit to this PPL program.
Yes, if both parents are eligible university employees, both can independently take Paid Parental Bonding Leave.  Only the birth parent is eligible for Paid Parental Recuperation Leave.
No. An employee must have 12 months of continuous State service and have been in pay status for 1,040 hours in the previous twelve months to be eligible for PPL.
No. Only full- and part-time (working at least 20 hours per week) employees who are in permanent, probationary, or time-limited SHRA or EHRA Non-Faculty positions are eligible for Paid Parental Leave (PPL). Time as a temporary employee, including student, graduate assistantships, and postdoctoral fellowships, can be included in determining the 12 months of continuous employment eligibility for PPL so long as the employee is in a permanent, probationary, or time-limited SHRA or EHRA Non-Faculty position at the time of the qualifying event.
No. Employees are allowed one qualifying event per 12-month period. The 12-month period begins with the birth or placement of the child, so if another child is born within that 12-month period, the birth would not be a qualifying event for PPL.
Yes. Surrogates are eligible for up to four weeks of Paid Parental Recuperation Leave following the birth.
Yes. If the employee remains employed by the State of North Carolina and does not incur a 31-day break in service, then the employee will be considered continuously employed, provided they meet all other eligibility requirements.
No. If you provide an acceptable document certifying your eligibility and you meet all other requirements, then you will be eligible for Paid Parental Leave (PPL).
Yes. Once at the participating agency/university, if the employee meets all other eligibility criteria, then Paid Parental Leave (PPL) will be available to the employee. However, the employee will only be eligible for qualifying events that occurred on or after the employee’s start date with the participating agency/university.
Yes. Funding source is not a requirement or restriction for eligibility, so long as the employee meets all other eligibility requirements.
Yes. So long as the birth or legal placement occurred on or after Sept. 1, 2019 and the employee was otherwise eligible as of the date of the qualifying event (i.e., at the time of the birth/placement, the employee was a permanent, time-limited, or probationary employee with 12 months of continuous service and was in pay status at least 1,040 hours within the past 12 months) then the employee could use Paid Parental Leave (PPL) for the event. The PPL, however, could be used only on a real-time basis (on or after UNC-CH’s implementation date — Jan. 13, 2020).

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. The qualifying event must have occurred on or after Sept. 1, 2019. This date is set by the Governor’s executive order. All births/placements that occurred prior to Sept. 1, 2019 are not eligible for Paid Parental Leave (PPL).
No. An employee must be an eligible employee at the time of the birth to qualify for Paid Parental Leave (PPL).

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).

Yes, you could use the four consecutive weeks of Paid Parental Bonding Leave sometime between March 1, 2020 and Sept. 30, 2020 (12 months after the birth); however, you would not be eligible for the Paid Parental Recuperation Leave, which would have only been available for the four weeks immediately following the birth.
In this case, the period of Jan. 2–12 (immediately following the birth) would not be covered by Paid Parental Recuperation Leave because the policy had not been implemented yet; however, you would be eligible for the remainder of the four consecutive weeks of Recuperation Leave that immediately follow the birth starting with Jan. 13, 2020. You are also eligible to use the four consecutive weeks of Paid Parental Bonding Leave within 12 months of the birth (i.e., no later than Jan. 1, 2021), but remember that the Bonding Leave must be used when you are using available Family & Medical Leave.

Requesting Paid Parental Leave

For step-by-step instructions, please review the “How to Request Paid Parental Leave” section of the Paid Parental Leave Toolkit. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the Benefits & Leave Administration Unit at 919-962-3071 or leave@unc.edu.

  • 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

No. Spouses cannot use Paid Parental Bonding Leave during the disability period for the purpose of caring for the spouse; however, they could choose to use Paid Parental Bonding Leave to bond with the child during the same period that the birth parent is taking Recuperation Leave or choose to use Family & Medical Leave (if eligible) to care for the birth parent during the recuperation period and then use the Bonding Leave at some other time within the first 12 months after the birth.
In loco parentis is eligible under Paid Parental Leave (PPL). In loco parentis refers to a relationship in which a person is placed in the role of a parent by assuming and discharging the obligations of a parent to a child who is the age of 18. Although no legal or biological relationship is necessary, grandparents or other relatives, such as siblings, may stand in loco parentis to a child as long as the relative satisfies the in loco parentis requirements and provides necessary documentation. Guardian ad Litem (GAL) assignments are not eligible under PPL.
Paid Parental Bonding Leave may only be used for bonding period with the child. Social Services and doctor visits as well as court dates that occur prior to the placement of the child may be scheduled by using other sources of leave. Once the child is placed, incidental appointments that may occur during the 4-week Bonding Leave are included within the Bonding Leave.
No. Paid Parental Bonding Leave is not available until the qualifying event occurs. Once the child is placed, incidental appointments that may occur during the 4-week Bonding Leave are included within the Bonding Leave.
Employees must use Paid Parental Bonding or Recuperation Leave for continuous blocks of up to four weeks. The four weeks of Recuperation Leave for the birth parent must be used immediately following the birth. Either eligible parent may use the 4-week Bonding Leave with the child for any continuous block of time within the 12 months following the birth or legal placement. For the birth parent, the 4-week Bonding Leave does not have to occur immediately following the 4-week Recuperation Leave. Although the Bonding Leave cannot be used intermittently, parents are not required to use the entire four weeks of Bonding Leave.
If the pregnancy results in a stillbirth at 20 weeks or greater into the pregnancy, then the birth parent is allowed to use up to four weeks of Paid Parental Recuperation Leave immediately following the event. Miscarriages or other issues related to a pregnancy are not qualifying events under PPL but may be covered under FMLA for one or both parents.

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.
No. Leave for part-time employees will be awarded on a pro-rated basis corresponding to the percentage of hours they normally are scheduled to work.
No. The birth parent must use Paid Parental Recuperation Leave prior to using sick or vacation leave for the birth. All Paid Parental Leave (PPL must be used concurrently with available Family & Medical Leave.
You would be eligible to use up to 12 weeks of FMLA for the birth. Once you begin using FMLA, you must use the four consecutive weeks of Paid Bonding Leave concurrently with the FMLA. The remaining FMLA time used can be covered with available leave (vacation, bonus, comp time, etc., but not sick leave). The leave must be used within 12 months of the birth date.
If your FMLA documentation shows that you must provide care to your partner for their ten-week period of disability, then you can use available leave (sick, vacation, bonus, comp time, etc.) to cover your absence for the ten weeks. You could then use your remaining two weeks of FMLA within 12 months of the birth for the bonding period with the child (the birth is a separate FMLA event from caring for your partner), but you can only use a total of 12 weeks of FMLA within a 12-month period. You would exhaust your remaining two weeks of FMLA once you begin using your four consecutive weeks of Bonding Leave.

Coordination Paid Parental Leave with Other Leave Programs

No. Paid Parental Leave (PPL runs concurrently with FMLA. The four weeks of Recuperation Leave and four weeks of Bonding Leave are counted towards the 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected FMLA leave in a 12-month period.

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.

Paid holidays occurring during a full week of Paid Parental Leave (PPL count toward the PPL entitlement. Paid holidays occurring during a partial week of PPL do not count against the PPL entitlement, unless the employee was otherwise scheduled and expected to work during the paid holiday. Condition 3 Adverse Weather closings with pay are counted as part of an employee’s use of PPL, consistent with other leave programs, and would not extend the PPL period.
Yes. Paid Parental Leave (PPL runs concurrently with Family & Medical Leave. However, if Family & Medical Leave has been exhausted, an employee is still eligible for PPL so long as all other criteria are met.

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.