I HAVE JUST BECOME AWARE THAT I AM PREGNANT. WHO MUST I CONTACT AND WHEN?

Under current Federal law, you are NOT required to notify your employer of your pregnancy. This law was designed to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

YOU MUST:

  1. Notify the Division of Human Resources, and apply for leave at least thirty days prior to your use of leave in connection with your pregnancy. To apply for leave, complete the forms found here, and follow the instructions for submission.
  2. Notify Human Resources if, for some reason, the leave needs to be extended beyond the normal period.
  3. It is recommended that you advise your principal (or other supervisor) of your pregnancy as soon as you are comfortable doing so. This will allow your supervisor to secure coverage for your position and duties while you are on leave.
WHAT TYPE OF LEAVE AM I ELIGIBLE FOR?

AACPS does not administer a fixed period of leave that is characterized as “maternity leave.” Rather, pregnant employees are entitled to use a combination of their accrued paid leave and/or unpaid FMLA leave to cover  prenatal care, delivery and after-care,  and to care for a newborn child. Paid leave which may be used during maternity includes sick, annual, and personal business leave. In addition, FMLA-eligible employees are entitled to use up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during this period.  However, there are guidelines. Certain leave types are limited to certain phases of maternity.

In general, sick leave may only be used during the “medical” portion of the maternity leave period, which begins on the date that the child is delivered, and includes six to eight weeks for a mother’s subsequent physical recovery.  A parent may use annual leave, personal business leave, or unpaid FMLA leave for the “family” portion of the leave period, which is time that a parent uses to bond with and care for a newborn child.

Employees who are not eligible for FMLA, and who have exhausted their paid leave, may be entitled to a temporary disability leave of absence. A temporary disability leave of absence has significant implications for the cost of an employee’s health coverage. Please contact your assigned specialist if you feel you need a temporary disability leave of absence.

HOW DO I KNOW HOW MUCH LEAVE I HAVE?

The amount of leave available to you depends on a number of factors, including your position, available leave balance, participation in a supplemental short-term disability plan (third-party vendor), your health, and the health of your newborn child. In addition, different leave types apply during the various stages of maternity.

A pregnant employee is entitled to medical leave to cover the period when she delivers her child, and for her subsequent medical recovery from delivery. If the child is delivered vaginally, the employee is entitled to six (6) weeks of medical leave. If the child is delivered via cesarean section, the employee is entitled to eight (8) weeks of medical leave.

An employee may use her accrued sick, annual, and personal business leave up to the applicable maximum of 6 or 8 weeks. Employees who have exhausted their paid leave may utilize unpaid FMLA leave to cover this 6 or 8 week period, provided that they are FMLA eligible. If an employee is ineligible for FMLA, she may utilize a temporary disability leave of absence.

Following the 6 or 8 weeks after the child’s birth, employees who are medically released to return to work may choose to remain on leave to provide care for, and bond with a newborn child. The employee may not use sick leave during this period.

An employee who has used paid leave to cover the 6-8 week “medical” portion of her leave, will be entitled to an additional 12 weeks of family leave for care of/bonding with a newborn child. She may use any remaining paid leave and/or unpaid leave for up to 12 weeks.

EXAMPLES

Mary, an Employee with a Substantial Amount of Accrued Paid Leave

Mary, a pregnant employee, works in the Division of Human Resources. When Mary is ready to deliver her child, she has a leave balance of 80 annual leave days and 20 sick leave days. Mary has a cesarean section. She utilizes eight weeks (40 days) of her annual leave from the time of her delivery until her doctor clears her to return to work 8 weeks later. At the end of that period, she has 40 annual leave days left.

Mary can take 12 weeks of additional leave to bond with/care for her child. She cannot use her sick leave, because the medical portion of her maternity period is over. She elects to use her remaining 40 days (eight weeks) of annual leave. Mary can still take four more weeks to be with her daughter. However, she has exhausted her annual leave. Therefore, Mary can use up to four weeks of unpaid FMLA.

Priya, an FMLA-eligible employee with no paid leave available

Priya is a pregnant second year teacher. She utilizes her personal business days before her delivery date. She delivers her child vaginally. Priya is eligible for unpaid FMLA, and utilizes six weeks of her 12-week FMLA allotment for the medical portion of her leave.

Priya is medically cleared to return to work from her delivery of the child; however, she wants to stay home with her child for a few weeks. She determines that she can afford to stay home for another four weeks, and utilizes her only option, unpaid FMLA, for that period. When Priya returns to work, she has only used ten weeks of her 12-week FMLA allocation. She may utilize the remaining two weeks to bond with the child at any time during the first year of the child’s life.

WHAT DO I DO ABOUT DOCTOR’S APPOINTMENTS WHILE I AM PREGNANT?

Doctor’s appointments related to pregnancy that occur before the child is delivered constitute prenatal care. You may utilize your leave as you ordinarily would for routine doctor’s appointments. This may include sick leave, annual leave, or FMLA leave.

Note that annual leave must be pre-approved by an employee’s supervisor. In order to utilize FMLA, you must meet certain eligibility requirements and obtain approval from the Office of Integrated Disability and Leave Management.

WHAT IF I GET SICK WHILE I AM PREGNANT, OR MY DOCTOR PUTS ME ON BEDREST?

If you are incapacitated due to pregnancy, you may utilize leave as you would for any disabling medical condition, i.e., sick leave, annual leave, or FMLA leave. If you are a member of a bargaining unit, and you have enrolled in a Sick Leave Bank, your union may entitle you to additional paid leave in accordance with the terms of your Negotiated Agreement.

DEPLETION OF PAID/LOST LEAVE TIME – DETERMINING LEAVE BALANCES

Depletion of paid leave/lost time

If you deplete your paid leave during your maternity period, you will not have any leave when you return to work. Therefore, if you are absent for any reason other than an FMLA-qualifying reason (your own serious illness or to care for someone else’s serious illness), you will not have any excused absence and may incur lost time.

To the extent that you are able, you should endeavor to leave a few days of paid leave available when you return to work. This is especially critical as child care issues may arise.

Determine how much leave you may be entitled to by
answering the following questions:

  • Do I have paid sick leave available?
  • Do I have any other paid leave type available (annual/personal business)?
  • Am I eligible for FMLA?
    (You must work for AACPS for at least 12 months, to be considered for FMLA eligibility.)
  • What is my position, i.e., in which Unit is my position classified?
I AM A 10-MONTH EMPLOYEE. WHAT IF I DELIVER MY BABY DURING THE SUMMER?

You should still submit your paperwork 30 days before your due date. If you do not miss any duty days in connection with your pregnancy, you will not be charged any leave.

The medical portion of your leave is still 6 or 8 weeks after your delivery date. If you deliver during the summer, but your medical recovery period extends through the start of the school year, you will utilize leave for the number of duty days that you miss. You should then follow the guidelines above for the family portion of your leave.

PATERNITY LEAVE

AACPS does not administer a fixed period of leave that is characterized as “paternity leave.” However, consistent with the provisions of FMLA, a parent, regardless of gender, is entitled to 12 weeks of leave to care for or bond with a newborn child through the first year of the child’s life. This leave cannot be taken intermittently, though it need not be taken immediately following the child’s birth.

Where both parents work for AACPS, the parents are entitled to a combined 12 weeks of leave to care for and/or bond with a newborn child.

The non-child bearing spouse who seeks leave for this purpose, should complete and submit this form

I HAVE THIRD PARTY DISABILITY INSURANCE. DOES THIS HAVE ANY EFFECT ON THE WAY THAT I SHOULD USE MY PAID AND UNPAID LEAVE?

No.  AACPS’ administration of leave is not affected by private insurance policies.