Parental Leave

All eligible employees

Q. What laws and regulations govern parental leave?

A: Parental leave is complicated because it is governed by federal law, state law, and your collective bargaining agreement (if you work under one). District policy allows employees to take 40 consecutive work days from the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement (or the remainder of the school year - whichever comes first). Under Massachusetts law, these 40 consecutive workdays are unpaid parental leave. Under federal law (the Family and Medical Leave Act or FMLA), if eligible, an employee can take 60 consecutive unpaid workdays; unlike most contracts, which starts counting the 40 days from the time of date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement whether or not that occurs during the school year, FMLA’s 60 day countdown takes place only when school is in session. All your benefits - whether under the contract, state law, or federal law - run concurrently. However, to qualify for FMLA you need to have worked for the district for at least 12 months, and you must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of FMLA leave. As a result, new or part-time employees do not qualify for FMLA.

Q: How much time off can I get?

A: Here are your options:

  1. You can be out on leave for 40 days from the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement.

  2. The Family Medical Leave Act allows you to take up to 12 unpaid weeks concurrently but unfortunately to qualify for FMLA you need to have worked for the district for at least 12 months and you must have worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months prior to the start of FMLA leave.

  3. You can be out the remainder of the school year.


Q. When do I need to provide notice of my intended parental leave?

A: Please check your collective bargaining agreement. FMLA requires at least 30 days notice when the leave is foreseeable, but many contracts require at least two weeks notice prior to the anticipated departure.


Q. Do school vacation weeks and holidays during the academic year count against my parental leave?

A: No. If you weren’t expected to be at work during the academic year, then it doesn’t count against your parental leave.


Q: Do summer vacation count against my parental leave?

A: Yes. If the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement occurs during the summer break, you can return on the first day of the school year 1 full school year following the event or take a leave of absence up to and including the number of consecutive work days needed to reach the equivalent 40 weekdays from the event.


For example, if the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement occurs 17 weekdays prior to the first work day of the academic year, then you can take a leave of absence of up to and including 23 consecutive work days from the start of school. If you return 1 full school year following the event, you should notify the Office of Human Resources 2 months prior to the anticipated departure.


Q: If the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement occurs on June 1st, and school ends on June 20th. How much time can I take off?

A: You would use your accrued sick time from June 3rd through June 20th. If you are eligible for FMLA, you would use 14 days until summer vacation, and then 46 additional unpaid days could be used once the new school year begins.

Big picture

Q: If the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement occurs in August. How much time can I get off?

A: You can take 40 days from the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement or 60 days, if you qualify for FMLA, from the first day of school. More specifically, per your contract, you can choose to use 40 accrued sick days, which begin on the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement.


So let’s say the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement occurs on August 20th and the first day of school starts on August 26th. You can use 36 accrued sick days from the first day of school. Since you have accrued sick time, those 36 days will be PAID. At the same time, FMLA only counts work days. That means that you will have 60 days from August 26th. FMLA is unpaid though. So, 36 of those 60 FMLA days will be paid per your contract, but the rest will be unpaid per FMLA. FMLA and the contract run concurrently.

Big picture

Q: How many paid days do I get under the parental leave?

A: You can get paid for up to 40 days if you have the accrued sick/personal time.


Q. Do I get a paid parental leave if I don’t have any accrued sick leave?

A. No. You only get paid for the number of sick days that you’ve accrued, not to exceed 40 days.


Q. If I take the entire school year off, to what position would I return?

A: If you have attained professional status (“PTS”), when you return, the district would need to provide you with an equal position to the one you had before you went out on your leave. The position does not need to be at the same school nor does it need to be the exact same position it just needs to be a position for which you are qualified to teach. If you have NOT attained professional status (“non-PTS”), you are NOT guaranteed a position upon your return.


Q: If I take parental leave, will that year count as a “complete school year” for PTS?

A: In order to obtain PTS, you must work for 3 complete consecutive school years for the same school district. Paid leave time does not make the school year “incomplete.” However, a significant period of unpaid leave would make a school year incomplete and therefore not count toward PTS. You must physically work at least half of the teacher year (185/2 = 92.5) for it to count towards PTS. If a non-PTS member takes more than 60 work days for parental leave, then that year does not count towards PTS.


Q. Once I have decided what my anticipated leave will look like, what do I need to do next?

A: In TalentEd under Blank Docs, you will see a form called Parental Leave Request. Please complete that form as soon as possible with your requested leave information. This Form will electronically travel to the Office of Human Resources and then to Payroll. The Office of Human Resources will generate a tentative pay sheet for you based on your anticipated leave dates so you can get a financial impact estimate. It is also very important that you notify your Principal as soon as possible so that they can request a long term substitute for your position if necessary.


Q. In case I am expecting what happens if I need to go out on leave before my date of delivery?

A: If you need to start your leave before your child is born, please have your doctor provide you with a note listing the day your leave will begin. You will need to use your accrued sick time during this time. This time will not count towards your 40 days under parental leave but it will count towards your 60 days if you qualify for FMLA.


Q. Will my parental leave affect my seniority?

A: Your seniority cannot be broken during your parental leave. This means that if you have 7 years of seniority at the time you begin your parental leave, you will return to work with a minimum of 7 years of seniority. However, you will not accrue any seniority during your leave (that is, if you took one year off, you will not return with 8 years of seniority; you will return with 7 years of seniority and your seniority date remain as it was when you left for leave).


Q. Will my parental leave affect my step changes?

A: Yes. You have to work physically at least half of the teacher year for it to count towards a step change.


Q. If I am out on leave and there is an early release, will I only have to use 0.5 sick days?

A: For an early release, you will still need to use a full sick day. When it is a full snow day, no sick day is taken because you have to make that day up at the end of the year.


Q. My spouse also works for the district. Does this affect our parental leave?

A: Yes, when employees belong to the same bargaining Unit, they need to split their paid time, and under FMLA employees need to share the combined 12 weeks of leave when bonding with a new child.

Part-time emmployees

Q. The date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement is occurring on July 30, 2019, to an employee who has an FTE of 0.5. What would their pay look like, and when would they need to return from parental leave?


A: Your accrued sick time may only be utilized for up to and including forty (40) consecutive days for employees beginning on the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement.


Because the event will be happening in the summer, the counting of your forty (40) days begins at that time; but you don’t need to use sick days during the summer, but you would for the remaining days towards your ”forty days” once school begins. In other words, since the anticipated start date for the 2019-2020 school year is August 26, 2019, you will be able to use seventeen (17) accrued sick days from August 26, 2019, through September 24, 2019. The nineteen (19) days from the time of the event to the beginning of school count towards the forty (40) days but you do not need to use sick days for them. Since you work Monday through Thursday, you will only be charged sick days on the days when you would have worked. On September 25, you must return to school or take the remainder of the year off unpaid.


Because your FTE is 0.5, you do not meet the criteria for FMLA eligibility, so your 2 available options are (1) returning 8 weeks from the date of the date of delivery or termination of pregnancy and/or receiving of a child through adoption, surrogacy, or foster or court-ordered placement or (2) you can take the entire school year off.


Q. What happens if my 0.5 FTE position is eliminated while I am out on leave?

A: If your position is eliminated during your leave, the district does not have to create a 0.5 FTE position for you if it doesn’t exist, and you are not guaranteed a 1.0 FTE position. However, if there is another employee within the district who has a 0.5 FTE position for which you qualify AND your seniority is higher than that other 0.5 FTE employees, you will be able to bump that employee.

Twins

Q. Do I get a longer parental leave if I’m expecting twins?

A: The Massachusetts Parental Leave Act allows up to 8 unpaid weeks for each child. The number of paid days would still be 40 days if you have the accrued sick time.

Benefits

Q. Can I use the Sick Bank for parental leave?

A: No. Unfortunately, the Sick Bank cannot be used to offset sick days when you are out on parental leave.


Q. What happens to my benefits when I am out on parental leave?

A: Your benefits continue while you are on leave. Once you enter into unpaid status, you will be responsible for paying your share of the premiums which will be direct billed to you by City Benefits. During your first year of parental leave, you are only responsible for the portion that is deducted from your paycheck for insurance. If you remain out for a second year you would responsible for paying the full amount.


Q. What happens to my supplemental insurances when I am out on leave?

A: Per City Benefits you have 2 choices regarding your supplemental insurances: (1) (disability, cancer, accident, universal, supplemental life) you can either be directly billed by City Benefits for your premium amounts, or (2) you can ask to be removed from the City’s bill and be invoiced directly from the insurance company. You cannot put payments on hold while you are out on leave and resume payments when you return. You must continue payments while on leave.


Q. How do I access my short term disability?

A: You will need to contact your specific plan directly to access your policy while on parental leave.


Q. I am expecting or adopting: how do I add my child to my insurance?

A: Once you have notified the Office of Human Resources that you have had/received your child we will email you the necessary forms to add your child to your insurance. Your original signature is required on all the forms. Please note that we will not accept scanned enrollment forms. Along with the forms we will also need a copy of the hospital birth announcement or birth certificate or adoption placement letter. If you are also adding your spouse to your insurance, we will need a copy of your marriage certificate. All forms will need to be submitted to the Office of Human Resources within 30 days of the birth or adoption. You do not need to wait for the social security number.


Q. Is birth or adoption a qualifying event to cancel health or dental insurance?

A: Yes, you will need to complete the GIC Enrollment/Change (Form 1MUN) and the Dental Blue Cancellation form within 30 days of the event along with providing a copy of the birth certificate or birth notice from the hospital or adoption placement letter.


Q. Will I be billed monthly or all at once for my insurance?

A: You will receive an invoice from City Benefits with the total amount owed once your leave starts.


Q. Who should I make the check payable to?

A: The check should be made out to the City of Framingham and it can be mailed to City of Framingham, 150 Concord Street, Framingham, MA 01702.


Q. Can I write one check for the full amount?

A: Yes, but if you are out for longer than anticipated or scheduled, City Benefits will bill you for the additional premiums owed.


Q. Do you need payment in full or can I set up a payment plan?

A: You will have the option of setting up a payment plan to be split over 6 months. Please contact the City of Framingham.


Q. What happens if an invoice is not paid after two months?

A: After two months you will receive a cancelation notice from City Benefits stating that you have a past due invoice. You will be given an additional 30 days to provide payment before cancelation is processed for your insurance.

For billing information please contact the City of Framingham:

Renan Pinheiro

Finance Coordinator

Q. What happens to my Flexible Spending Health Care Account while I am on parental leave?

A: You may continue your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) participation during your leave of absence under the following 3 options:

  1. PRE-PAY: If a participant knows in advance they will be on a leave of absence, they can pre-pay before the leave begins. They will be able to submit claims for reimbursement during the leave.

  2. PAY AS YOU GO: The participant is allowed to make FSA contributions on an after-tax basis while on leave. They will be able to continue to submit receipts for reimbursement while on leave.

  3. SUSPEND/TERMINATE ACCOUNT: The participants’ status is suspended or terminates when the leave begins. If the participant has a Benny Prepaid Card, the card will be suspended upon notification of the leave. Upon return from leave, the participant may:

    1. Reactivate the account by re-paying the amount “past-due” through payroll deduction. This will allow the participant to submit receipts for services rendered during the leave.

    2. Choose not to repay the past due amount. Then the participant may lower their annual election to adjust for the missed deductions. This will allow participants to submit receipts for services rendered during the leave up to the adjusted annual election amount.

    3. Terminate participation in the plan. The participant would not be able to submit for reimbursements during the course of the leave.


Q. What happens to my Flexible Spending Dependent Care while I am on parental leave?

Your account is suspended until you return from parental leave. You are not eligible to be reimbursed for child care expenses while on leave.

For more information about FSA please contact:

Karen Smith

Cafeteria Plan Advisor for Flexible Spending Account



Q. What is the process for my union dues when I go into an unpaid status during my parental leave?

A: The following policy is set by MTA:

  • Members on unpaid leave of absence for a full membership year are assessed 50% of the NEA dues and 15% of the MTA dues of full-time active members within their membership category.

  • Members on unpaid leave of absence for half a membership year or more are assessed 50% of the NEA dues and 50% of the MTA dues of full-time active members within their membership category.

  • Members on an unpaid leave of absence for some duration of time less than a half membership year are assessed full NEA and MTA dues for their standard membership category.

  • Members on an unpaid leave of absence for a full year may opt to cancel their membership for the duration of leave were permitted by the local association. Their membership will be reinstated for the new school year that they return.