FMLA for Birth, Adoption or Placement of a Child for Foster Care

Eligible employees may request FMLA leave during the 12 months following the birth, adoption or placement of a child for foster care in order to bond with their new child. FMLA will also cover leave required for pre-natal care or for absences required before an actual adoption or placement of a child in order for the adoption or foster care to proceed.

Helpful Resources for Pregnancy and Birth

Newly Enrolling or Changing your GW Benefit Elections

The birth, adoption or placement of a child for foster care are Qualifying Life Events allowing you to make applicable changes to your GW benefit elections. You have 60 calendar days from the date your child is born, adopted or placed for foster care to add your new child as a dependent under your GW health coverage or request other applicable changes through the EasyEnroll system. You will also need to provide supporting documentation to GW benefits within 60 calendar days of the event date confirming the date of birth, adoption or placement in order for your requested changes to be approved. Approved benefit changes will be effective from the date of birth, adoption or placement for foster care.

Please note that a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account (FSA) cannot be newly elected or continued during a paid or unpaid leave of absence longer than 30 days.  If you wish to elect a Dependent Care FSA, you can do so within 30 calendar days of your return from leave.

Intermittent or Reduced Schedule FMLA Leave for Bonding after Birth

As well as requesting continuous leave, an eligible employee may use intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA family leave for bonding purposes after the birth or placement of a child. However, requests for intermittent or reduced work schedule FMLA family leave require departmental approval. Intermittent or reduced schedule FMLA family leave for bonding purposes must be scheduled in advance and requested in writing at time of FMLA application. Remember that 30 calendar days notice is required when the need for leave is foreseeable. 

Please note that the department’s approval is not required for intermittent leave due to the serious health condition of the mother or child nor for continuous family leave for bonding immediately following birth or placement.

Coordination with Paid Time Off

During your leave, you may elect to use applicable accrued annual, sick or other paid time off while on FMLA leave to the extent permitted under HR policy. Full-time Staff, Medical Residents and some Specialized Faculty with more than 2 years of service may also be eligible for up to 6 weeks of continuous Paid Parental Leave following the birth or adoption of a child. (Regular Faculty members should contact the Faculty Personnel office to determine their eligibility for parental leave benefits.) Please note that Paid Parental Leave benefits can cover up to 6 weeks of continuous leave immediately following the birth of a child. If you do not begin your leave immediately following the birth or you return to work within the first 6 weeks following the birth, any remaining unused Paid Parental Leave will not be available should you wish to take further leave later.

An employee on FMLA leave due to birth may also be eligible for short-term disability (STD) benefits if required to be off work for medical reasons before the birth and during the recovery period after birth. (STD and Paid Parental Leave will run concurrently when both apply). Any annual, sick or other paid time off you elect to use while on approved FMLA will run concurrently with the FMLA entitlement.

Please note that only using the types of paid time off paid through GW Payroll Services will allow you to maintain your paid status for annual and sick time accruals. Paid time off such as Voluntary Short Term Disability, Long Term Disability and Worker’s Compensation are paid by outside administrators and are not considered “paid status”. Timekeepers should review the Leave of Absence Timekeeping Process (PDF) to see how timekeeping is managed while an employee is on an approved leave of absence.