Leaves of Absence Associated with Pregnancy and Maternity

There is no leave called “maternity.” Employees unable to work due to pregnancy and delivery will use sick-time pay 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 once all paid time off has been exhausted. 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 Work Connections 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 from Work Connections.
  • DRDA: All departments funded through the Division of Research Development and Administration are required to submit all pregnancy-related cases to Work Connections.
  • Typical periods of absence 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 wellbeing 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) – Work Connections suggests that supervisors speak with their human resources representative about processing FMLA paperwork for any pregnancy-related absences.  For more information, see the Staff Handbook.
  • Other considerations– Supervisors should contact Work Connections if medical complications are reported or if the treating physician recommends that your employee refrain from work beyond the typical period of disability. Supervisors should also contact Work Connections if the treating physician limits their employee's work activities before or after delivery.
  • Work Connections will work with both the supervisor and employee to coordinate any necessary work accommodations.

Extending the time off post-delivery — In order to help 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.  The Office of Business and Finance has developed guidance for their employees.  Other units are welcome to visit their website for ideas and best practices on supporting a gradual return to work.

FMLA Tutorial

The FMLA Tutorial provides detailed information for staff members and their supervisors to help plan for a 12-week maternity leave.

Maternity Resources

SPG: Leaves of Absence (medical/child care)

SPG: Sick Time Pay