This information is intended to help you with your childcare, child birth and adoption planning. Individual circumstances or policy changes, where applicable, would supersede the information provided here. Please contact Human Resources for guidance in planning your leave.
Communication & Planning
Employees are encouraged to inform their supervisor or department chair of a pregnancy or adoption promptly, so that planning can begin. Opening the lines of communication early can help accommodate your family's needs, along with your department's staffing and work assignment needs and options.
Understanding the policies for the pregnancy, delivery, and post partum disability periods, with options for child care leave, will help you make informed choices. You are also encouraged to schedule an appointment with Human Resources early in your planning process to discuss leave entitlements, procedures, and options.
State Agency Policy
As a public state agency, (State University of New York), Binghamton University does not provide a paid maternity leave, such as that provided by some private employers. In order to stay in pay status during a leave, you must use leave credits that you've accrued.
New York State policy treats late pregnancy and the post partum period as a temporary disability. However, as a state agency, our leave accrual program is intended to cover periods of disability. Additionally, as employees of a public agency, we are not eligible for New York State disability payments.
Definition of the Disability Period
New York State defines the period of disability for an uncomplicated pregnancy as: up to four (4) weeks before the anticipated date of delivery, through six (6) weeks after delivery, or eight (8) weeks after a Caesarean section.
For medical complications that would extend a period of disability, call Human Resources for guidance. Medical documentation can be submitted directly to Human Resources by you or your doctor (marked "confidential"). Our confidential fax number is (607) 777-4947.
Using Your Accruals & Applying for Leave
During the period of disability, you may charge sick leave or other accruals. Beyond the period of disability, you may charge accruals other than sick leave to stay in pay status.
Sick leave accruals may only be used during a period of disability. Vacation and holiday accruals, if available, may also be used, both during the period of disability and during a child care leave (after the disability period). In cases of few available accruals, see Human Resources as soon as possible for assistance in exploring options.
Leave for Child Care
State union agreements provide employees, regardless of gender, with up to seven (7) months of child care leave without pay. Vacation and/or holiday accruals may be used, if available, during child care leave to remain in a paid status. However, the use of accruals will not extend the seven month period.
The seven (7) months include the disability period following birth. Employees should discuss the terms of the leave (start date/anticipated return date) with their supervisor. This leave can be available to either parent.
Sick leave accruals (beyond the disability period) may only be used if the child has a serious medical condition. If this happens, a medical statement must be submitted to support the charging of sick leave accruals.
Documentation of a legal adoption is required to qualify for child care leave. Leave may start at any time after the child begins living with the adoptive parents, through the effective date of adoption and beyond, up to seven inclusive months.
Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
FMLA is a federal law which provides up to twelve (12) weeks of unpaid leave with continuation of certain benefits. An FMLA leave runs concurrently with disability and child care leave (birth or adoption). Eligibility for FMLA requires a minimum of one year of service and having worked at least 1,250 hours within the past 12 months. Eligible employees should apply for maternity, paternity and adoption leave through the FMLA process.
Health Insurance Coverage During Leaves
A provision of FMLA is the continuation of health insurance premiums at the employee's rate. This is true even if you have exhausted your accruals and are no longer in pay status (in this case, health insurance premiums would be billed directly to you).
Once the FMLA leave is over (maximum of 12 weeks), if you are no longer using accruals to remain in pay status, your health insurance premium would be at the leave without pay rate. This full share rate includes the cost of both your share and the employer's share. However, if you remain on the payroll, your health insurance premium would be at the leave with pay rate, equivalent to the employee's cost only. You would be able to continue your health insurance at this rate throughout the duration of your leave, until your leave accruals expire.
Human Resources and Employee Benefits staff members can help you coordinate use of your accruals with health insurance issues included in your planning.
Generally, UUP represented staff members may use sick leave accruals during the first week (up to 5 days) of post-partum for the spouse to help in general care at home. After that, vacation/holiday accruals may be used. If the leave is anticipated to be for an extended time, an FMLA child care leave could be considered. Please contact Human Resources for additional information.