New parental leave benefits support families at U-M


Faculty and staff who add children to their families can now take advantage of paid parental leave at the University of Michigan.

The university’s new maternity (childbirth) leave policy provides up to six weeks of paid time off for recovery from childbirth. A separate parental leave benefit provides all eligible parents, including fathers, with up to six weeks of paid time off to bond with a new child. Eligible birth mothers may use both leaves for a total of 12 weeks.

In addition to the new paid leaves, eligibility for extended sick time has been reduced from two years of service to one year for faculty, campus staff and Medical School staff as of Sept. 1. It applies to all uses of extended sick time, including those not related to pregnancy or childbirth. This change does not affect eligibility for Michigan Medicine staff on the PTO plan, which already begins at one year of service.

Multiple university groups have called for more significant parental leave options in recent years, including the Michigan Medicine Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the ADVANCE Program, CEW+ and the Voices of the Staff benefits team.

The expansion of paid parental leave at U-M reflects this engagement as well as a growing national dialogue on the benefits of extended leaves for parents, children and families.

“This enhancement to our parental leave options will have significant and positive effects for our faculty and staff who are parents, for their families and for our institution as a whole,” said Lori Pierce, vice provost for academic and faculty affairs and professor of radiation oncology, who co-chaired an advisory committee that recommended the new benefits.

“I applaud the decision to implement these new benefits, which are supported by a growing body of research about the importance of paid leave to support new parents and children.”

The new leave benefits became available as of Sept. 1. They are separate from existing types of time off under the university’s sick time, vacation and Paid Time Off policies. Faculty and staff covered by a collective bargaining agreement should consult their contract regarding eligibility for leave benefits.

Under the new policy, maternity leave is available upon hire to eligible faculty and staff. It must be used as a single block of up to six weeks immediately following delivery. Absences related to pregnancy, prenatal care or a recovery period of more than six weeks will continue to be covered by other types of time off, such as extended sick time.

“This is a positive move to support the well-being of our faculty and staff and their families,” said Lisa Kane Low, associate professor of nursing, obstetrics and gynecology, and women’s studies, and past president of the American College of Nurse Midwives.

“Paid maternity leave, in particular, has been shown to provide important opportunities to support an optimal transition from pregnancy to parenting, including supporting positive recovery following childbirth, bonding with a new infant, improved infant-health outcomes, and increasing the odds an individual returns to work and progresses in their career following childbirth.”

Eligible faculty and staff may take parental leave within one year of a child’s birth or placement for adoption, foster care or legal guardianship. The birth or placement with the parents must occur after the faculty or staff member has completed six months of service. Faculty who are eligible to take a period of modified duties may either do so or take parental leave instead.

A special eligibility period will apply for new parents who added children to their families shortly before the new benefits took effect. Eligible faculty and staff who welcomed a new child between July 1 and Aug. 31 may request up to six weeks of parental leave to use within one year of Sept. 1. Maternity leave is available for births that occur on Sept. 1 or later.

“We’re thrilled to be able to deepen our commitment to supporting our faculty and staff when they expand their families,” said Laurita Thomas, associate vice president for human resources. “I’m confident that these new benefits will also help us recruit and retain exceptional candidates who are looking for a community where they can thrive both personally and professionally.”



  1. Brittany Rosenthal
    on September 4, 2018 at 5:21 am

    Does maternity leave apply for nurses at UofM under Michigan medicine? If so, how long do you need to work here before being eligible for the 6 weeks paid maternity leave?

    • Gage Guswiler
      on September 4, 2018 at 8:31 am

      Nurses at Michigan Medicine are under a collective bargaining agreement and have their own paid leave system. Under the previous agreement that has recently expired and is currently being negotiated, nurses have access to short-term leave after 2 years of service. Short-term leave is a bank of up to 6 months PTO.

      • Nathaniel Steiner
        on September 4, 2018 at 11:41 am

        “Have their own paid leave system”? Meaning we need to use our own PTO if we want to get paid to have time to “bond with the new child”. A PTO bank which, after working here 3 years, I can only accrue up to 4.5 weeks off. After that it’s unpaid, and when I come back, I will have 0 time to take off if my child is sick. Very much hoping University of Michigan will treat all their employees equally and offer this benefit to Michigan Medicine employees as well with the ongoing contract negotiations.

  2. Brittany Rosenthal
    on September 4, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Does the parental leave apply for nurses?

  3. Kellie CARPENTER
    on September 4, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Why does this only go back to July 1st? If you had a child in the past 12 months and can squeeze in 6 weeks before the 12 month deadline, this should be available to us.

    • Rebecca Welzenbach
      on September 4, 2018 at 9:46 am

      Agreed! I’m absolutely thrilled to see this new policy launched, but it stings to have discovered it on my baby’s actual first day of daycare as my spouse and I both return to work. I wish the benefit were available to all parents still within the 12-month window.

    • Anthony Cece
      on September 4, 2018 at 10:48 am

      This is great news for new parents working for U-M, but admit that as a father of a three month old, the July 1 date stings a bit.

      • Tahir Ahmad
        on October 29, 2018 at 2:47 pm

        I agree. Although this is a great resource. It isn’t helping alot of parents that fall short of the july1st date. My daughter was born June 26th this year. I’m still a new parent and should have this benefit available to me, as the process was difficult when it wasn’t offered and I had to use pto and go unpaid for the remainder of time needed. Should apply to all employees that had a child in 2018.

    • Katherine Burdick
      on September 4, 2018 at 11:12 am

      How many vacation days and sick days have we lost over the years because there has never been a parental leave? UM has always been indifferent to the plight of working parents. Why do they think they can wash away history now?

      If they actually cared about parents, they should SHOW it to the parents who have been here for years already.

    • Christina Bennett
      on September 4, 2018 at 12:47 pm

      I agree. I wish they would have let the ‘special eligibility’ apply to anyone who had their child in this current 2018 calendar year. I pre-planned and never took vacation so I could save enough time to have 10 weeks off, and then had to take some un-paid time so I could make it to 12 weeks to spend time with my infant. This left me with no vacation/little sick time for the rest of the year.

      • Katherine Burdick
        on September 4, 2018 at 1:16 pm

        Several people in my office would benefit from such eligibility. So, we are asking HR for vacation time to be credited back to our bank.

    • Lynn Alves
      on September 4, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Likely because that’s when the new fiscal year begins.

    • Jessica Rupprecht
      on September 4, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      Kellie, I believe the new policy is in place beginning Fiscal Year 2019, which started on July 1.

  4. Lindsey Bledsoe
    on September 4, 2018 at 9:00 am

    Does parental leave apply for nurses. As of now we have not been offered this new incentive to help support our families.

  5. Eitan Daniel
    on September 4, 2018 at 9:09 am


  6. Srinivas Goud Perumandla
    on September 4, 2018 at 9:43 am

    Thank you UoM !!

  7. Shannon Marshall
    on September 4, 2018 at 10:02 am

    Amazing. But may need a clarification as this seems contradictory:
    (1) “Under the new policy, maternity leave is available upon hire to eligible faculty and staff.” (YEAH)
    (2) But then says: “The birth or placement with the parents must occur after the faculty or staff member has completed six months of service.”
    So are you able to utilize this within your first 6-months or only after you have served your first 6-months?

    • Christopher Stewart
      on September 4, 2018 at 10:17 am

      There are two separate leaves, maternity and parental. the 6 week *maternity* leave can be used immediately by birth mothers upon hire, but the separate 6 week *parental* leave (all parents) requires at least 6 months of service prior.

  8. Kathleen Scola
    on September 4, 2018 at 11:30 am

    Grandparent leave? To help support the new parents? I love this new benefit for new parents!

  9. Hillary Edwards
    on September 4, 2018 at 1:08 pm

    If a clinical faculty member takes the Parental Leave are they then not allowed to take Modified Duties? It’s unclear in the tool kit as it only talks about instructional faculty and semesters. Or is this decided by the Department you fall under?

  10. Nathan Saulter
    on September 4, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Just to confirm, if you are a Michigan Medicine staff member that uses PTO this new policy does not apply to you in any way? I just get confused when I go to the link about parental leave and I see it says “Regular hospital and health center staff with at least a 50% appointment” are eligible for the new policy. I’m assuming those hospital staff that they’re talking about do not use PTO?

  11. Laura Eidietis
    on September 4, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Does this apply to LEO lecturers, or only some faculty? LEO lecturers are teaching faculty. I don’t think it is a great idea to make a blanket statement about faculty and leave LEO out.

  12. Jessica Rupprecht
    on September 4, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you, UM- I applaud any and all progress. This does not benefit me now, and unless I decide to have another child (I have a 19 month old) this will not benefit me at all. But I am beyond excited for all of the parents that will benefit from this, even if I end up not being one of them!

  13. Erik Kreps
    on September 5, 2018 at 9:13 am

    My family has been blessed with 9 children through birth and adoption, 7 since I’ve joined U-M. If this policy had been in place all along, I suppose that means I’d have been eligible for up to 42 weeks of paid parental leave! Can I appeal for retroactive consideration? Just kidding, but I am very happy for future families that will benefit from this.

  14. Bryant Sheppard
    on September 6, 2018 at 7:53 am

    I would like to echo other comments already posted here. This policy is great and definitely a step in the right direction. However, I’m having a very hard time understanding the rationale of making it only apply to parents who had babies after July 1, when the policy states that you can use the leave anytime within the child’s first year. Wouldn’t it make more sense for eligibility to start based on the child’s first birthday rather than their birth date? If you can’t tell, my wife had our daughter 7 months ago. I was incredibly excited about actually getting time off to spend time with her, until HR denied my request. I understand that you can’t go back in time and give every parent that’s ever had a baby retroactive time off, but this seems like an overly rigid enactment of an otherwise amazing policy.

  15. Kevin Martin
    on September 6, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    I don’t understand why those under collective bargaining are being pushed aside? According to the spg we are excluded from this benefit!! Yes because the wonderful unpaid leave under FMLA for paternity is a healthy way for the oqa/dad what have you to bond and worry about bills!

  16. Karen Schultz
    on September 20, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    I am so thankful for this new benefit! As a foster parent who has 18 placements, it is a huge blessing. In the past, I frequently had to say no to taking in a newborn since my day care won’t take babies until 6 weeks and I am not always able to find a nanny for just six weeks. Thank you University of Michigan!!!

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