Maternity / Pregnancy

There is no leave called “maternity.” Employees unable to work due to pregnancy and delivery will use sick-time pay/PTO to cover any time they are medically unable to work related to their pregnancy or delivery.  If sick-time pay/PTO is exhausted, and an employee is still medically unable to work, the employee will need to request a Medical Leave of Absence.  Employees determined to be medically able to work can return to work, or request a Child Care Leave of Absence
The following steps are provided by WorkConnections to help supervisors manage absences related to uncomplicated pregnancies:

  • Documentation — The period of disability (absence from work) should be documented by the treating physician. A Health Care Provider Report Form can be used by the treating physician for this purpose. The form can be downloaded at

  • Staff members supported from sponsored funds are required to report their pregnancy to the university's Work Connections program.

  • Typical periods of disability (absences from work) — The accepted norm for absence is approximately two weeks before the estimated delivery date. The expected duration of absence — after delivery — for uncomplicated vaginal delivery is six weeks and for caesarean delivery is eight weeks.  In January, 2010, the University of Michigan Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommended that postpartum leave following a normal uncomplicated delivery of a healthy term baby be 12 weeks in order to provide “the best outcomes for women, infants, and their families”. University Human Resources supports this concept and the well being of children and families, but limits the amount of time-off which is covered by pay.  The duration of extended sick time pay for absences due to childbirth continues to be six – eight weeks as the accepted period for physical recovery of the mother.

  • Ending of absence — Employees should schedule a post-delivery appointment with their physicians prior to the end of the six-week/eight-week period of disability in order to obtain written documentation that their medical disability is no longer an issue and they are able to return to work.

  • Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) — WorkConnections suggests that supervisors speak with their human resources representative about processing FMLA paperwork for any pregnancy-related absences. More information is also available at

  • Other considerations — Supervisors should contact WorkConnections if medical complications are reported or if the treating physician recommends that your employee refrain from work beyond the typical period of disability (absence from work). Supervisors should also contact WorkConnections if the treating physician limits their employee's work activities before or after delivery.

    WorkConnections will work with both the supervisor and employee to coordinate any necessary work accommodations.

Extending the time off post-delivery — In order to help U-M staff members extend the time they have off to be with their new baby, the following options are important to understand and use:

  • Extended sick time pay can be used as soon as pregnancy is known to cover prenatal care doctor’s appointments.
  • Extended sick time pay provides for pay during six to eight weeks of recovery time after delivery.
  • Short term sick time and vacation days can be used to extend paid time off after extended sick time pay ends.
  • Arrangements for a gradual return to work can be discussed with the employee’s unit supervisor to ease the transition back to work.

Tutorials that may be helpful in determining how to plan for a 12-week maternity leave can be found at: