UGA Libraries Parental Work/Life Information
UGA Libraries recognizes the daily challenges of working parents and we want to prioritize employee wellbeing. We encourage an open dialogue between staff and supervisors, and we encourage supervisors to be flexible in finding solutions to accommodate the needs of working parents. Our goal is to provide support to working parents at all stages of parenthood through our policies and culture. We also want all employees to have access to benefits and accommodations, regardless of gender, length of service, salary, position, department, or other circumstances.
This website is organized into two main categories: Before a New Child and After a New Child. Each section will contain links to relevant University System of Georgia (USG), UGA, and UGA Libraries policies and documents, as well as some FAQs that may be useful.
Legally married same sex and heterosexual couples receive the same benefits from UGA. Couples in a domestic partnership are eligible for limited benefits, details here.
I. Parental Leave Policies
UGA Parental Leave Policy
UGA does not offer paid parental leave to employees. All leave used for issues related to having a child must come from your own sick or annual leave, the shared leave pool, or leave without pay.
- Where can I find the official UGA maternity leave policy?
- My partner is the one giving birth to our child. Is it okay if I take leave?
- Yes. UGA Libraries encourages all parents to take any leave available to them for the addition of a child.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was designed to help employees balance their work and family responsibilities by allowing them to take reasonable unpaid leave for certain family and medical reasons.
FMLA provides eligible employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year for qualified medical and family reasons. These include pregnancy, adoption, foster care placement of a child, personal or family illness, or family military leave.
To be eligible, employees must have worked for their employer at least 12 months, at least 1,250 hours over the past 12 months. FMLA leave can be taken in a block of time or on an intermittent basis. Since FMLA leave is not a separate bank of leave available for employees to use, it is taken using an employee's accrued leave hours (both sick and annual leave) or without pay.
Before filling out your FMLA form, we advise you to talk with the Human Resources Manager, Jan Hudson.
UGA website for FMLA : https://hr.uga.edu/employees/leave/family-medical-leave-act-fmla/
- What forms do I need to fill out, and when?
- First, you will need to fill out the UGA HR Family and Medical Leave request form. Ask Jan Hudson for a copy of the U.S. Department of Labor Certification of Health Care Provider for Employee’s Serious Health Condition form to give to your healthcare provider (get this from Jan directly so the employer section can be filled out appropriately). While these forms are not “due” to HR until a month before the birth, we encourage you to complete them earlier in the process. Please check with your healthcare provider for their timeline on filling out forms. Many offices require 4-6 weeks from the time paperwork was dropped off to return the form to you.
- Am I required to get FMLA approval if I’m using my own sick or annual leave?
- No. FMLA approval is not mandatory, but we encourage all employees to submit this paperwork. FMLA is required if you plan to take advantage of UGA’s shared leave program. FMLA is also important if you are a faculty member who may go into Leave Without Pay status. Contact Jan Hudson for more information on this.
- My spouse and I both work for UGA. Do we both need to submit FMLA approval requests?
- If both spouses work for UGA, you can both submit FMLA approval requests, but you will have to share the 12-week pool of FMLA-protected leave.
Short Term Disability Insurance
Short term disability (STD) insurance is an optional insurance that employees can sign up for during open enrollment or when starting to work for the university. The current short term disability (STD) insurance provider is MetLife. More information on this policy is here.
Short term disability (STD) benefits are paid to the employee directly from MetLife. Because of this, you are responsible for the employee contribution portion (not the UGA-paid portion) of any benefits premiums that would normally be deducted from your paycheck.
- How can I get short term disability (STD) insurance?
- You must enroll during benefits open enrollment or when you first start working for the university. If you sign up during open enrollment, you may be required to submit “proof of good health,” which will likely involve a basic medical evaluation.
- If I’m already pregnant at open enrollment, can I still get short term disability (STD) insurance?
- Yes, but the benefits for the birth of a child may not be applicable if you are already pregnant when you enroll in the program. You need to have the insurance in place before getting pregnant to take advantage of the benefits for the birth of a child.
- I’m not giving birth to a child, can I still use STD?
- No. Short term disability (STD) is considered a medical benefit, and is therefore only available to a person who is physically giving birth--no spouses or adoptive parents.
- What will my STD benefits look like?
- For a vaginal delivery, you can get 60% of your pay for up to 6 weeks after delivery. For a cesarean delivery, you can get 60% of your pay for up to 8 weeks after delivery. You can also get STD benefits for the 2 weeks prior to your due date, though this can be difficult to time if you do not know exactly when your baby will arrive.
- What is the STD waiting/elimination/exclusion period?
- This is a very confusing aspect of STD benefits. MetLife explains the elimination period as follows: “Benefits begin after the end of the elimination period. The elimination period begins on the day you become disabled and is the length of time you must wait while being disabled before you are eligible to receive a benefit. The elimination period is 14 Calendar days for Injury or Sickness (including pregnancy).”
- What does this mean? It means that you will, in effect, receive 2 fewer weeks of benefits than the maximum allowed for your type of delivery. For example, if you have a vaginal birth on Monday, July 1, your 6 weeks of benefits would begin July 1, but the first two weeks, July 1-14 would be considered the elimination period. You would only be paid for benefits after this elimination period, so in this scenario, for weeks 3-6 (July 15--August 15). In other words, if the maximum benefit period is 6 weeks, you would be paid out for 4 weeks; 8 weeks, you would be paid out for 6 weeks, etc. The elimination period applies to all STD benefits.
- Are STD benefits subject to income tax?
- No. Because the STD plan offered to UGA employees is paid for entirely by the employee, income from STD benefits does not need to be reported on your tax return.
- Can I use STD benefits concurrently with other leave?
- Not really. You can use your annual or sick leave during the elimination/exclusion period (see FAQ above), but once you start receiving benefit money, any UGA paid leave will coordinate with your disability benefit not to exceed 60% of your pay. Most people are in leave without pay status while they are receiving short term disability benefits.
- What forms need to be filled out and by whom?
- Call MetLife to initiate a claim. They will send paperwork to you and to your healthcare provider.
- Send the UGA Libraries’ HR Manager a Leave Request form(s) noting that the hours listed are for leave without pay caused by taking STD benefits.
- Classified staff must also send the UGA Libraries’ HR Manager a completed Leave without Pay form.
- You will also need to fill out the UGA Leave Declaration for Disability Claims form. This form lays out the options for how you want to use leave during the elimination/exclusion period.
- Once the baby arrives, you will need to contact MetLife again to inform them of the delivery date and the type of delivery (vaginal or cesarean).
- What happens to my other benefits when I’m using STD leave?
- If you are on leave without pay status (which you likely will be), you are responsible for paying both your and UGA’s portions of your benefits premiums when you are on leave without pay status. You will receive a bill from UGA.
Leave Without Pay
- What forms need to be filled out and by whom?
- Classified staff must submit a completed Leave without Pay form to the Libraries’ HR Manager.
- Faculty must have submitted and been approved for FMLA leave.
- What happens to my benefits when I’m on leave without pay status?
- You are responsible for paying your normal monthly benefits premiums when you are on leave without pay status. You will receive a bill from UGA.
- Will I accrue leave while I’m on leave without pay?
- What if a paid holiday (ex. July 4th, Memorial Day, etc.) happens when I’m on leave without pay?
- You won’t be paid for that holiday immediately, but when you return to work you can ask to have your annual leave balance adjusted for the holiday that occurred. UGA Policy: “An employee on approved sick leave without pay for three continuous calendar months or less is eligible to receive pay for holidays which occur within the three calendar months period, upon his/her return to work. At the discretion of the unit, the eligible holiday time may be received as back pay or the time may be added to the employee's annual leave balance by way of an adjustment.”
- How can I use shared leave?
- You must be enrolled in the Shared Leave Program by donating at least 8 hours of your sick leave to the pool during open enrollment. You must have a minimum balance of 40 hours of sick leave after this donation to be eligible. Visit the Shared Leave Program website for more information about eligibility.
- Do I need to submit an FMLA request to use shared leave?
II. Writing a Parental Leave Plan
A parental leave plan is a place for you to document the plan you’ve formulated, with your supervisor, about what kinds of leave you will use and when. It should include:
- When your leave will commence and conclude
- HR understands that these dates are usually estimations and will adjust the dates accordingly when baby arrives.
- Amount and type(s) of leave you will take
- Your work schedule after returning
- Forms or paperwork that will need to be completed, submitted, and approved
Outline this plan in a memo to your supervisor(s) and give a copy to the Libraries’ Human Resources Department. A template for this letter can be found at G:\UGALibs\PERS\Forms\FMLA Maternity Plan Letter to Supervisor (template).doc.
- Can I see examples of how other people have written this letter?
AFTER A NEW CHILD
III. Flexible Work Schedules and/or Teleworking
New parents often take advantage of flexible work schedules or teleworking as a way to balance work and family obligations. Some parents also choose to work reduced schedules for a time period after returning to work. The details relating to reduced work schedules and teleworking should be worked out with your supervisor.
UGA Telecommuting policy: http://policies.uga.edu/Human-Resources/Hours-worked/Telecommuting/
- Who can telework?
- Teleworking can be open to anyone. You and your supervisor must demonstrate that there are duties that can be performed from home.
- What paperwork is required?
- You must complete the UGA Telecommuting Agreement form.
Birth or adoption of a child is considered a qualifying life event, meaning that you are able to change your benefits. If you wish to request a change in coverage due to a life event (marriage, birth of a child, etc.), you must do so within 30 days of the date of the event by using the OneUSG Connect - Benefits website.
V. Dependent Care Spending Account
A dependent care spending account is one of the optional benefits offered by UGA. This type of spending account is similar to an FSA or HSA, and is administered by the same company, Optum. During open enrollment, you can specify the amount of money (maximum of $5000 annually) to be deducted from your paycheck, pre-tax. This money is held in an account and can be used for eligible dependent care expenses, including daycare, nursery school, or a nanny.
- You said the annual limit is $5000. If I have two children, is the limit $10,000?
- No. The limit does not increase with additional children.
- If I don’t spend all of my money in a calendar year, does it roll over to the next year?
- No. Expenses must be incurred by December 31.
VI. Breastfeeding and Lactation
UGA Libraries supports working mothers’ right to express breastmilk after returning to work.
The Work/Life balance page for expectant and new parents has information about purchasing a breast pump and lactation support services. The UGA policy page for Maternity Leave addresses a nursing mother’s right under federal and state law to express breast milk for her infant during working hours. Talk with your supervisor to work out a plan for how and where you will breastpump while at work.
- Where is the lactation room in the Main Library?
- First Aid Room B14. Take staff elevator to Basement, exit to your right, make your first right, and this room is the first room on your right. The room is labeled “First Aid.” You will need to consult your supervisor and get a key from Head of Security and Facilities Jon Purcell (this room is usually locked).
- Where is the lactation room in the MLC?
- Room 366 is the designated lactation room in the MLC. It is a faculty prep room that has signage to put on door when being used for lactation. Contact Facilities Manager Shannon Bennett for access to this room.
- Where is the lactation room in the Science Library?
- The Science Library does not currently have a designated lactation room. If you require one, contact your supervisor and human resources.
- Where is the lactation room in the Special Collections Library?
- The small room off of the large event space on the 2nd floor in the Special Collections Library is the designated lactation room. Contact Facilites Manger Tim Pennell for access to this room.
- I have a meeting across campus. Where is the nearest lactation room?
- What does Georgia law say about expressing breast milk during working hours?
- § 34-1-6. Employer obligation to provide time for women to express breast milk for infant child
(a) As used in this Code section, the term "employer" means any person or entity that employs one or more employees and shall include the state and its political subdivisions.
(b) An employer may provide reasonable unpaid break time each day to an employee who needs to express breast milk for her infant child. The employer may make reasonable efforts to provide a room or other location (in close proximity to the work area), other than a toilet stall, where the employee can express her milk in privacy. The break time shall, if possible, run concurrently with any break time already provided to the employee. An employer is not required to provide break time under this Code section if to do so would unduly disrupt the operations of the employer.
- § 34-1-6. Employer obligation to provide time for women to express breast milk for infant child
- What does federal law say about expressing breast milk during working hours?
- Employers are not required under the FLSA to compensate nursing mothers for breaks taken for the purpose of expressing milk. However, where employers already provide compensated breaks, an employee who uses that break time to express milk must be compensated in the same way that other employees are compensated for break time. In addition, the FLSA’s general requirement that the employee must be completely relieved from duty or else the time must be compensated as work time applies. See Wage and Hour Division Fact Sheet #22, Hours Worked under the FLSA.
- Where can I connect with other breastfeeding working mothers online?
- The Facebook groups “Working Moms Who Make Breastfeeding Work” and “Moms With Careers Making it Work” are both good resources.
- What is educational support leave?
- Educational support leave allows each full time, regular employee of the State of Georgia or of any board, branch, department, bureau or commission thereof shall be entitled to apply for up to eight hours of paid leave per calendar year for the purpose of promoting education in this state. This can include:
- Attend parent/teacher conferences
- Participate in classroom activities, such as reading to a class or presenting on career day
- Tutor students without receiving compensation
- Proctor examinations
- Attend award and recognition ceremonies or graduation exercises
- Participate in field day activities or field trips
- Attend open house functions
- UGA: Work/Life Balance Office’s Resources for Parents website
- Links to resources and policies for parents, divided by age of child, including resources for finding childcare. Also includes links to potentially helpful non-UGA local resources.
- UGA: Employee Assistance Program
- USG provides employees and family members with free, comprehensive support through the Espyr Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAP provides counseling and well-being support and Work/Life balance help.
- Non-UGA: Bloom Community (Facebook)
- Join this closed facebook group for Athens-area parents for parenting advice and support. Offshoots include Bloom Classifieds, a great resource for second-hand kid and household items. More information here.
- Non-UGA: Reblossom
- Local shop selling new and used child clothing and items and offering classes on a wide range of parenting issues.