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Parental Leave Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How was parental leave authorized?

Kansas Board of Regents policy enabled KU to implement a Parental Leave Policy and program effective July 1, 2019.

Who is eligible for parental leave?

A faculty or staff member appointed at 48% time or greater to a “regular” position (not student or temporary) who has 12 months or more of qualifying KU/State of Kansas service.

How is parental leave provided to individuals who are appointed 48% time but less than 100% time?

The amount of parental leave granted will be pro-rated based on the appointment percent. 

How is parental leave provided to an individual who has an academic year or less than a fiscal year appointment?

Parental leave may only be granted when the individual is in paid status, not during time periods when the individual is in leave without pay status

How is “parent” defined?

A parent is an individual who has are giving and financial support roles for a child who is newly born or adopted.

Is there an age limit for parental leave usage for adopting a child?

Yes, for adoption of a child, the child can be up to six (6) years of age.

When can parental leave be used?

Parental leave can be used for the birth or adoption placement of a child occurring on or after July 1, 2019, within the 12 weeks immediately following the qualifying event.

Can both parents have parental leave if working for KU and/or the State of Kansas?

Both parents may be granted parental leave. However, one parent must be identified as the “primary caregiver” and the other parent as the “secondary caregiver.”

How will the designation of “primary” or “secondary” be determined?

The University will accept the self-designation by the parent(s). If false reporting is later determined, the employee may be subject to disciplinary action, salary repayment, or leave adjustments.

How much parental leave may be granted?

The “primary caregiver” may be granted up to 6 weeks, and the “secondary caregiver” may be granted up to 3 weeks.

What if the parent gives birth to twins?

Multiple births do not increase the amount of available parental leave time.

Must the leave be taken all at one time?

Within the 12 weeks after the birth or adoption placement, the leave may be taken at one time or at different times intermittently. A supervisor must authorize a plan for how parental leave is used on an intermittent basis if the leave is FMLA qualifying.

Does taking parental leave disallow the use of other forms of leave?

Parental leave may be taken in conjunction with other forms of leave for which the employee is eligible if the additional leave is approved by the supervisor or unit/department head, e.g. vacation leave, sick leave, accrued compensatory time, etc. The combined total of all leaves reported and hours worked cannot exceed the scheduled work hours for the day.

What happens to the remainder of the parental leave if not all of it is used?

Unused parental leave is forfeited. It is not accrued or maintained as a balance and cannot be donated.

How and when should parental leave be requested?

The faculty or staff member should notify the unit/department in accordance with normal leave request procedures. Faculty and staff are urged to provide as much advance notice as possible of the leave request so the unit/department can make coverage plans. The faculty or staff member must then complete a Parental Leave Request form available on the HRM website and submit it to the unit/department head and Human Resource Management (HRM).

Can a unit/department head grant less than the maximum allowable parental leave?

The unit/department head must allow up to the maximum allowable parental leave for which the individual is eligible. In addition, the allowable paid or unpaid leave provided by the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) can only be denied in very rare circumstances after review by HRM.

Will official confirmation of the birth or adoption placement be required to approve parental leave?

The University will accept the affirmation made by the employee. If false reporting is later determined, the individual may be subject to disciplinary action, salary repayment, or leave adjustments. Medical documentation may be required for approval of FMLA coverage.

Why does HRM need to review the request?

Many employees requesting parental leave may also qualify for coverage by the FMLA. HRM can therefore combine the two reviews to ensure the employee receives the full coverage and protections offered by these leave programs. If eligible for FMLA the employee should simultaneously submit a request for FMLA coverage.

How will the requesting parent be notified of HRM’s determination?

After receiving the completed Parental Leave Request Form, HRM will notify in writing the employee, the direct supervisor, and the department head regarding both FMLA and parental leave determination.

How is approved parental leave reported when taken?

Parental leave taken should be reported by all faculty and staff as an “absence” in the HR/Pay system using the absence “Type” of “Parental Leave” and selecting the appropriate “Absence Name and Reason.”  The absence request will be routed to the direct supervisor for approval. Parental leave may be reported in quarter hour increments even for exempt (salaried) individuals. Guidelines for reporting parental leave absences are provided on the HRM website.

Can an employee who is not eligible for coverage by FMLA still request parental leave? 

An employee may qualify for parental leave that requires 12 months of KU/state of Kansas service and be ineligible for FMLA coverage that in part requires 1,250 hours of work within the past 12 months.

Does parental leave have any effect on the faculty tenure clock?

If parental leave is also FMLA qualifying a faculty member may request that the Vice Provost for Faculty Development approve an interruption to the tenure clock pursuant to the “Interruption of the Probationary Period (Tenure Clock)” policy. Otherwise, parental leave has no effect on the tenure clock.

Does parental leave have any effect on the faculty Modified Instructional Duties” policy?

Faculty who are not eligible for parental leave may wish to apply for modified instructional duties. Faculty who are eligible for parental leave may, in consultation with the Chairperson and Dean, determine which arrangement best suits parental and instructional responsibilities.

Does parental leave have any effect on holidays?

Parental leave will not count against holidays. Paid holiday credit will still be provided for those who are eligible.

How does parental leave relate to shared leave?

Shared leave is only provided to individuals who meet the eligibility requirements that, in part, require the occurrence of a serious, extreme, or life-threatening illness or injury of the individual or of a family member. Shared leave is not available for birth or adoption covered by parental leave.

What recourse is there if the employee feels that parental leave has been denied by a supervisor or unit/department head?

A supervisor or unit/department head cannot deny parental leave. The employee or supervisor should contact HRM at hrdept@ku.edu with any concerns.

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